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My sister's clematis seems to be dying from the bottom up. The leaves start looking mottled and are then turning brown. It is in a pot and has buds on it. It was healthy up till a week or so ago. Can anything be done to save it?
How big is that pot? How long has it been there? When was the last time it was repotted and/or fed?
It's hard to tell from this viewpoint but that pot looks much much too small for a clematis.
They need a very large deep pot, lots of organic matter and nutrients, and the pot needs to be in a cool and shady place.
Slugs and snails sometimes scrape the outer part of the stems off near the base and can kill the whole stem this way. The other possibility is that the pot was allowed to dry out in which case it may be dead, unfortunately. All you can do is cut the affected stems off just below soil level and wait. If you are lucky, fresh growth will appear from the roots but be sure to protect this in case molluscs are still around as they'll gobble it up overnight. The good news is that it isn't clematis wilt as that starts at the tips and works it's way down.
Edit: just saw Dove's post - fully agree - they need large, deep and cool pots.
Thanks for advice. Sister is now going to re-pot to see if she can salvage it.
Good luck to Lilyanne's sister
Let us know how she gets on.
...and feed it tomato food
Your sister is guilty of cruelty to clematis. They are very hungry, thirsty plants with thick, felshy roots that need to be planted in deep, rich, cool soil and never be allowed to dry out or starve. She should give it a thorough soaking and then either plant it deep in the ground of treat it to a new pot at least 5 times the size of its current one and some top quality compost.
It should then be given a tonic of liquid tomato food and a dollop of slow release clematis food. If it survives, it will need a dollop of clematis food every spring and occasional liquid feeds of tomato food whether in the ground or in the pot.