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Latest posts by obelixx

Strange plant

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 13:27


plant identification

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 12:16

The first one looks as though it's dying of thirst and the second lot look pretty thirsty too.   Give them all a very good drink - at least 2 galllons/10 litres for the shrubby thing repeated till it starts to plump up the foliage.   This may take a few days.  Then cut back all the dead stems to a live bud and give it another good drink containing some seaweed or tomato fertiliser.   After that just make sure it doesn't get thirsty again.   Post another picture when/if the leaves plump up.

The grassy plants could be all sorts of things from grasses to hemerocallis to liriope.  Give them a good drink too and then, when they plump up a bit, a feed and see what happens.  If they flower they'll be easier to identify.


Posted: 23/07/2015 at 11:28

I think chopping it at this stage of the year is a risky strategy.  

The best thing would be to replant it in a 60cm pot using John Innes no 3 compost and burying it 10cms deeper than it was in its original pot.   If you are unwilling or unable to do that, just remove all the flower buds and feed it with specialist clematis food and regular good soaks.   A good soak once a week is far better than a daily dribble.

In future, prune and feed it in spring as I indicated above and give it decent soakings to stop it getting thirsty and then occasional liquid tonics of tomato food between March and the end of June to encourage flower power.

Nettle feed for tomatoes

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 11:22

On Beechgrove last year the home made comfrey feed used in their tomato trials did better than the commercial products  - bit of a shock for old Jim - so he's doing it again to make sure it wasn't a fluke.    Comfrey feed is good for all fruiting and flowering plants.  Nettle feed is good for leafy plants like cabbages and hostas. 


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 14:52

Sarah5 - make sure that you make your planting holes at least 15inches/40cms and preferably even further from the base of your wall and bury them deeper than they were in their pots, angling them towards the wall and giving them plenty of rich compost mixed in with the soil and then very good drink.

Feed them generously every spring with clematis food and give them a mulch of garden compost to retain moisture.


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 14:48

I grow Blue Angle and Crystal Fountain as group 3s Busy - winters too cold to keep the top growth - and they do very well as long as they're fed.    Betty Corning is fabulous.   Pretty flowers, lovely scent and she does it for months.   Took mine a couple of years to get going but now she's spreading well.



Posted: 22/07/2015 at 11:39

Lack of water makes leaves turn brown.   Give the plant a generous soak today then let it drain and give it some food tomorrow or the next day.

Be patient.  Clems can take a couple of years to get settled and I now plant all my new purchases in pots for their first year so I can coddle them before plunging them in the ground - again at a deeper depth than I had them in my pots.


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 11:05

I think 18" is too small for a permanent pot for a clematis. 2' wide and deep would be my minimum.

Did you plant it deeper than it was in its original pot?   This helps keep the roots cool and encourages the plant to produce extra stems.

I don't think you should expect flower power as well as growth in the first year.  Try removing the spent flowers to stop it wasting energy in seed and give it a liquid feed of tomato food as well as making sure it is watered regularly.  Rain is not enough for plants in pots and clematis are very thirsty, hungry plants.

Next spring, cut back its stems to about 9" and give it a generous helping of specialist clematis food and weekly waterings with liquid tomato food until the end of June with regular plain waterings in between as needed.   In a pot, it is entirely dependent on you for food and water as the nutrients in the compost will all be used up in the first season.   Treated well it should get bigger and better every year.

why cover seeds of hardy plants

Posted: 22/07/2015 at 10:12

I no longer sow any seed in the ground, whether bought or saved from my own plants.  There are too many obstacles - birds, dogs, slugs, competition from other plants and then there's OH who doesn't know a weed from a treasure when "helping" with weeding.

I'm always happy when I find self sown goodies such as hellebores and foxgloves and then can pot them up and bring them on and plant them where I want them and I don't mind verbena bon and hollyhocks popping up as they're easy to pull up if in the wrong place.

I sow all my veggies in trays or cells and plant them out when they're big enough to cope with my local weather conditions as we're prone to late frosts and strong winds.   Works for ornamentals too.


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 10:01

It is unwise to mix clematis from different pruning groups in one planting place as their pruning requirements to keep them healthy and flowering are so different.

If you want it to look good all year either go for evergreen honeysuckle or variegated ivies or the winter and spring flowering forms of clematis such as cirrhosa or armandii.

Another alternative is to paint your trellis so it looks good when bare in winter and then grow a mix of either group 2 or group 3 clematis.   personnaly, I would suggest the group 3s as they are simply pruned back to about 9" in March, fed and then they regrow and flwoer all summer and just need training in as they grow.   

They will lose their leaves and become a woody tangle in late autumn and can then be cut back to tidy them up but your should then mulch the crown of the roots to protect them from frosts.

Sunset, Princess Diana, Blue Angel, Betty Corning (scented), Caerulea Elegans, Huldine, Little Nell, Crystal Fountain and clems from the viticella group such as Etoile Violette will all perform well and be very hardy.

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