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24/04/2012 at 21:47

I have an arch with a Clematis montana growing up each side. They have only been in situ for 18 months and this year I was looking forward to lots of growth and flowers. One side the flower buds are nearly open and prolific. The other side looked ok until the flower buds appeared, then suddenly the leaves looked a bit limp and the buds droopy. I thought that a frost had damaged it, but the one the other side seemed ok. This was over a week ago and although everything is droopy on it , it still looks just about alive. It has not gone brown or dried out. The roots are in a rather damp part of the garden, where water collects after rain, but soaks away after a while. Would this kill it?

24/04/2012 at 21:57

Clematis don't like wet feet, so it may have suffered. Another possibility is that slugs have stripped the stems of their bark at ground level.

24/04/2012 at 21:57

Montana is more resistant to wilt than the larger flowered hybrids. As it has only affected part of the plant I would check closely to see whether tehre has been some physical damage to the affected stem. With wilt the plant usually collapses very quickly. 

25/04/2012 at 09:16

Wilt is easy to tell, the stem dies from the bottom up, whereas with mollusc damage, it dies from the top down.

25/04/2012 at 10:48

It is almost unheard of for the montana group to suffer from clematis wilt, more likely to be wet feet or something nasty in the soil of which yoy are unaware.  Slugs love to lick the bark from clematis stems, once ringed they die down as you have described, certainly a good suspect. 

25/04/2012 at 20:04

Thank you all for the advice. I'll go and check the bark and the ground as soon as it stops raining! Drought , what drought? We've had enough rain today to last all year!

26/04/2012 at 14:07

It could be a case of slime flux which can affect Montanas. If the affected plant has had some stem damage lower down then that would be the point of entry. If it is slime flux then you may have dig it up I'm afraid. You would probably be able to get away with only one Montana growing over your arch as they can get rather large.

On another note, this must be one of the wettest droughts on record!!

27/04/2012 at 21:44

Thanks Digger, but I've checked it out and can't see any trace of that. I think it's the water that collects in that area when it rains. (we are on clay). It does drain away after a couple of days (usually) but at the moment we are not getting a single day without heavy showers. Some drought eh?

27/04/2012 at 23:21

hi diggingdoris,

just to let you know that you are not alone as I have the very same problem with my Montana.  It's the first time I've ever seen it on this plant, it's very disappointing and perplexing.  I do not have any drainage problems with mine either, so I don't think it's that.   I am wondering if it's to do with frost, as we had a hard frost a couple of weeks ago, after the warm spell.  It isn't wilt, it's just the flower stems and buds, the rest of the plant looks fine.  I think only about one third of the flower buds will open, the rest are just dying off.

28/04/2012 at 06:59

It won't be frost. Check a problem stem carefully to see if you can find damage, such as a section where the outer bark has been stripped away on one side (snails) or a bruised / creased section caused by wind damage (or in my case by a snagging lawnmower!)

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