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Hi guys, I got two batches of wild swans from two different nurseries. One batch is thriving but all the plants from the other batch suddenly withered and died. I contacted the nursery that discovered and distributed wild swan. The answer is a kind of phytophtora fungus that the plant is very sensitive to. It causes severe root rot. Unfortunately a couple of nurseries had plants infected with that specific fungus so it spread through the wild swan population. That explains the many mysterious sudden deaths. A lot of nurseries now have 'clean' plants for distribution. When buying wild swans lift them out of the container and check the roots. If the roots are brown, don't buy. Healthy roots should be white. Above ground check for withered leaves, leaves with a red coloration or curled edges. That is usually a sign for this type of fungus infection. If you have a healthy plant that is in well-drained soil that never completely dries out, the plant should be fine and thrive.

Morning Tom.  I have a couple of wild swans.  Different clones too produce different quality.

one plant is much larger than the other and been flowering since May.  Cut back now to produce a flush that will comtinue for several weeks.  The other plant has flowered well but also just cut back

neither plant has phytophthora both being healthy but I have heard many plants are infected.

my plants are prob 3 years old.  For me mulching and feeding, good soil and,,ideally, shade created by slightly taller plants are important.  

Hi Verdun, my healthy batch were plug plants that were literally just inserted in soil. A few produced a tiny bloom but I cut the flowers off so they could spend their time and energy developing leaves and roots. They are all still alive and seem to be producing new leaves and growing slowly but surely. Haven't got any new flower buds yet but I'd rather they properly establish themselves than produce flowers at this point. I have them in a well mulched border between newly planted trees. The trees are still very small so the wild swans are in full sun most of the day still. I expect the trees will start to produced some dappled shade in the years to come. I hope they can survive full sun (as advertised) as long as the soil doesn't dry out.

I'm another victim of the Dying Swan - sorry, Wild Swan. Surely somewhere there is a botanist who can explain why they are so prone to curling up and dying. My latest failure was in bud and about to flower when it just dried up, looking almost as though it had been singed by very strong sun (We should be so lucky), A couple of years ago a biologist told me what caused this and suggested I should treat the compost with nematodes. Unfortunately I can't recall the exact details of the advice. I've looked up 'nematode' on the net but they all seem to be for slugs, so no help there. What irritates me most is that all the growers are happy to tell us what beautiful and desirable plants these are without mentioning that they are likely to die soon after purchase. In view of the price of the plants + postage I feel that a warning note would be in order. On the other hand I've got previous experience of the blasted things and still tried again.

Picture just taken as flowers folding a little in the evening but here is one of my Wild Swans.  hence the rather dull picture

 Been in flower since May, will continue until autumn and is now in its 4th year providing flowers every summer, all summer,  from its first year.   A large healthy, robust and beautiful plant.  Ruffled Swan ...first about to flower a little further down.  Deschampsia behind, with  Sanguisorba White Tanna behind that soon to flower.

cultivation?  different quality clones about I think but mine are in the richest soil I have, in slightly dappled shade....mine does receive plenty of afternoon sunshine but taller plants filter it somewhat ...., and given rich compost at planting time plus a mulch of pelleted chicken manure, fish blood and bone and a mixer of ordinary mpc.  

Planting in poor dry soil would be a waste of money and time.  

For me Wild Swan is superb....I have 3 plus its "cousin" Ruffled Swan.  Will be interesting to observe the differences between Ruffled and Wild Swan but already the former has a robust constitution and the soon to unfurl buds look promising

I suggest NOT buying as plugs or as 9cm them large and in flower and take the trouble right from

planting time to treat 'em well 


Hi Verdun, Your Wild Swan is certainly magnificent. I have 3 Wild Swans growing in my garden together with 3 anemones the names of which I have forgotten and 1 each of Pretty Lady Susan and Diane. In late spring I add Westland's compost to the front garden now that I can't get peat. In my front border growing strongly I have amongst other plants hydrangeas, pelargoniums, geraniums, begonias helianthemums, roses, zantendescia, pansies, hostas, iris, nana gracilis along with one Wild Swan which is thriving just a foot away from the one which is now in trouble.

Re the Anemone which is struggling, I have examined the roots and found them to be a brownish fibreous network so I soaked the whole plant in Westland's Plant Rescue after removing the most frazzled leaves. So far there has been no further deterioration and there is nothing else I can do but keep my fingers crossed. I can be ruthless about disposing of a plant I'm bored with but I can't bear to see a healthy plant dying unnecessarily.



No problems with Wild Swan.  . . have had 3 for a few years, 2 in the ground, south facing and one in a large pot in semi shade. All cut back now after a mass of flowers.

Joyce, they should produce for weeks yet.  I deadhead only during the summer or trim back lightly 


Verdun, I usually get a second lot of flowers although not so prolific.

  Shame some find them difficult to grow 


Maybe it is the soil. Next door has a beautiful stand of a pink autumn flowering anemone.   I begged a portion, and planted it at the back of the border. It survives , but nothing like next door. Next door it is growing in heavy clay. I broke a fork digging up a piece for nut. You could make pots out of it. My side has very free draining sand over an old stone farm track. Roses do better in clay. Maybe anemones do too. Thinking about it, Verdun is going to say his are in sand.

No, rich sandy loam fidget.  Don't  think they would last a few weeks in sand.  

I have counted the variety of plants in my front garden - either 27 or 28 - all of them thriving including other species of anemones + two Ladies, one Susan and one Diane. The other anemones are the cheaper ones which bloom in spring or autumn. I have been growing various plants for over 40 years in this border without a problem and now find that Wild Swan just curl up and die in it. Strange that all the others are doing fine.

My rear garden is quite large and I planted most of the shrubs 40+ years ago and the perennials I split or replenish every every third year. I have no casualties in this area either.

Alice, most of the well known anemones are generally pretty easy tp grow.....the Japanese type especially so;  they can take over your garden if happy there.  Here, for example, they were invasive and it took me 3 years to finally eradicate them.  

Wild Swan is a relatively new hybrid and does require better conditions to grow well 

Thanks for letting me know that I require good conditions to grow Wild Swan  If all the other species in my garden don't get good conditions its odd that they thrive for so many years. Sudden death such as in the case of these plants needs a better explanation I'm afraid. The internet is littered with letters from people experiencing the same problem with Wild Swan and it is logical to assume that those not prepared or unable to provide good conditions are unlikely to be forking out around £30 a time for 3 plants.I have never before had a problem with any plant in over 50 years of gardening and detest being beaten by this anemone. The last time I had a big problem was in 1942 when slugs attacked my lettuces and put me off gardening for years. 

I am aware of how invasive some plants can become and take action before they cause a problem.


Different clones alice.    I think there are inferior, maybe infected, ones around 

People DO imdeed "fork out" a lot of money on plants that fail and continue to do so.  A visit to a local garden centre will reveal people buying all sorts of plants requiring vastly different conditions and often selected purely on whim regardless of their own growing conditions.   Similarly so on the internet. Doesn't necessarily mean plants themselves are flawed.

my point about "good" conditions is just that........Wild Swan DOES need a certain combination of factors to do well I think.  I offer only my own opinion

It would be interesting to hear from others who do grow Wild Swan well and compare.


I'm not sure I grow Wild Swan "well", but I do have one plant still growing in its fourth year - the others turned up their toes.  It likes it damper and more shady than the more familiar late summer flowering anemones - it is some sort of cross and one of the parents likes damper conditions.

Rosy Hardy of Hardy's plants (in Whitchurch, Hampshire) was the grower that introduced it.  She is very friendly and really helpful.  Perhaps if you dropped her an email Alice she might have some of the answers ?  Worth a try

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