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My clematis is about 2 months old (since I bought it) and has grown about 5 feet on 2 stems and has one flower on each.  Suddenly the leaves at bottom have turned brown and I have removed them.  Now, the leaves from about half way up are being eaten at an alarming rate.  I cannot see larvae or insects.  Can anyone tell me what this is and how to deal with it, please,                                                                                       Jill


It could be slugs,snails ,adult vine weevils -if you go out after dark with a torch you might see something in action

Perhaps if you posted a picture of the damaged leaves someone might be more accurate

Thanks for that.  I don't see any sign of slime and no insects at all.  But as you say they might be on the night shift!

I shall take a pic in a minute once I have discovered how to add to the thread.

 Hope this is good enough


Mmm-looks suspicously like vine weevil adult damage to me-again have a look tonight- these are they


 and this is typical damage


 which looks similar to your damage-then again it could still be snails



Agree with Geoff, again , quite likely to be VW damage to the leaves.

The bit about the lower leaves going brown. It can be quite common for those to do that anyway, But, if the whole of the remaining stems/leaves also begin dying then check out Clematis wilt. All clematis need to be planted as deep as possible. If wilt is suspected, then cut away all the infected bits & it should reshoot from low down, often beneath ground. Oh & disinfect any secataurs used. J.

Oh dear that looks just like it.  So what can I do?


Jill-if you find them then pick them off- the really bad news is the adults do worse damage by laying eggs and the grubs hatch out and eat the roots

All a bit depressing I'm afraid but don't give up hope yet- as Jo says it may shoot up again from below ground or it might just recover

Who said gardening was easy?

There doesn't seem to be any sign of Clematis wilt but who knows?  This pest problem is becoming an expensive hobby!   I now need vine weevil and Systemic rust destroyers for my Clematis and Hollyhock.  I only have one of each and you have to buy so much of the stuff and it is only a 6 foot diameter raised bed and a pot with the Clematis.


Rust on hollyhocks is almost inevitable, and personally I would not worry about it, so don't buy stuff for that if I were you.  Vine weevil is another thing, you probably do need to treat that.  It may only be affecting your clematis just now, but can get anywhere.  I do not use chemiclas very much ( I make an exception with provado for lily beetle, as I grow a large amount of those), but some things do call for special action.   If your plant does have clematis wilt, don't worry - you need to make sure the clematis is in the pot very deeply, then if you do get it (or rather the clematis does!), cut it down to ground level and it will come again next year.  The viticella and other smaller flowered ones don't get it, so that might be something to think  about for the future.    Large summer flowered ones in pots can struggle, but the smaller ones, especially those bred for container growth, are a jolly good bet.  

Thanks all for your helpful replies.  The clematis is in a large pot about 7 inches deep should I try to re-pot it in a much deeper one?  It is in flower.

The hollyhock is a different story,  It started off at £10 in a garden centre - reduced to 5 - reduced to 3. It was virtually dead with something unknown to me.  I took pity on it and said I'd pay £1.  Back home I found there were 3 separate plants, removed all the dead leaves and dead buds and potted them up in my kitchen.  Looked on the web and found out what was wrong with them.  I have them on the kitchen windowsill and I have a beautiful flower on one of them they still have rust spots but are looking so much healthier. They are very straggly but they are growing!  And of course I talk to them every morning.  Daft old thing that I am

Have to add - it does not usually sit on the sofa but I needed something dark behind it!

hollie hock

Hi Jill,

Have to agree with Bookertoo, I don't use hardly any pest control at all. Very occasionaly I will put the slug pellets down but that's it.  Someone on here said that rust is the price to pay for clean air, so I don't think you will be ever rid of it. My hollyhocks are looking decimated, but there's still a few flowers on them.

If I couldn't put in the ground, I would put the  clemantis in a much larger pot after it has finished flowering


Indeed, your clematis does, as Hollie-Hock says, need a very much larger pot - but not now while it is flowering.  I grow several clematis in pots, usually about 15 inches across and up to 18 inches deep - less than that and the roots can get warm, which they hate.  A deep root run, cool soil and warm heads make happy clematis.  Plenty of feed, clems are hungry plants, prune as and when - depending on the type of clematis. Some of the alpinas make stunning pot plants, there are large flowered hybrids especially bred to keep shortish for pots, and if there is something deent to climb then the vitcellas are great.  I don't subject big flowered summer ones to pots any more, though I am of the persuasion that you can grow anything in a pot - mostly I think because I no longer grow large flowered summer hybrids - they are just  too delicate and sensitive for the garden here, the tough and pretty small ones work better.  We have some of the non-climbing ones too, which are lovely, not particularly floriferous yet, but so unexpected creeping over a box shrub or beside a stately old phormium - or just tumbling about where they feel like it as I have forgotten where I planted them. 

Thank you again for your help.  I shall re-pot when flowering finishes and will buy some vine weevil killer.  I will let the Hollyhock takes it's chance.

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