This section is based on an article
that appeared in a recent BCS Journal. It will
be updated from time to time as new areas of interest
If you have any questions about
looking after clematis, please feel free to e-mail
us and we will arrange for them to be answered
for you by one of our advisory panel. We do this
on the understanding that we may publish the question
and answer at a later date without, of course,
disclosing your name.
mildew on C. texensis cultivars
mildew on C. 'Duchess of Albany'
do my texensis clematis have so much mildew every
year and how can I prevent it?
The texensis group of clematis,
although among the most beautiful of all, are naturally
more prone to mildews than most other clematis.
There are two aspects of cultivation that can greatly
reduce the severity of mildew on texensis clematis.
The first is to grow this type of clematis in open
ground, where air can freely circulate through
and around the whole plant; (stagnant conditions
will cause mildews very early in the season on
plants grown close to solid structures). On well-established
plants of C. 'Duchess of Albany' it is worth
removing some of the many shoots at ground level
to ensure adequate ventilation through the plant.
The second way to reduce mildew is to keep the
root area evenly moist throughout the growing season.
This is best achieved by ensuring the plant is
really well watered in early spring and then applying
thick mulch to retain that moisture content. Never
allow the root area to completely dry out, add
water regularly if drought conditions persist.
(Extremes of dryness and wetness of the soil quickly
trigger the onset of mildew). In some years it
will be impossible to prevent mildew even with
opportune preventative spraying with a good fungicide,
but these two simple cultural tips will go a long
way in most years to ensuring your texensis display
is as beautiful as possible.
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My Clematis texensis
'Duchess of Albany' is a vigorous plant.
I nourish her well and take good care of her.
Yet she gets covered in mildew every year. She
flowers very well, but the plant looks very ugly
and unsightly from July onwards. Each year, I
have threatened her with eviction, but, she is
still here and obviously pays very little heed
to my threats! Please help!
The only meaningful way to deal
with this problem is to spray with a weaker solution
of a good fungicide well before any signs of mildew
appear, then routinely repeat the process at regular
intervals. A well grown, mildew-free texensis is
a joy to behold.
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The only fungicide
I have is Nimrod T. I cannot find a product specifically
saying that it is suitable for Clematis wilt.
Would you recommend anything else?
No specific fungicide is as yet
available to deal with the problem of wilt in clematis.
Of the existing fungicides, none will give 100%
protection against wilt. However, most general
purpose fungicides will give some help. Fungicides
which help prevent mildew on roses will also render
some protection against clematis wilt. It is advisable
to plant your new clematis at least 3 to 4 inches
( 7.5 - 10cms.) deeper than they were in the pots
( live buds below the soil will come into growth
should the vines or stems above the soil level
suffer from wilt. Do not stick to just one brand
of fungicide - use two or three different fungicides
during the growing season. Spraying against wilt
at least once a month from April until August will
be helpful. This treatment will also limit some
mildew prone clematis from becoming too unsightly
as the season progresses. Avoid damage to brittle
mature vines by domestic pets and garden tools.
Despite all the care, should the plants be struck
by wilt, remove the dead stems, drench the remaining
stems and surrounding soil with at least a gallon
(4.5 litres) of freshly made up fungicide and be
prepared to wait for a few weeks, a few months
or even a few years before pronouncing that your
plant is well and truly dead!
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is eating the seeds in my pots? These were clematis
seeds, set in 4-inch pots, in peat based compost
and without any grit on top.
Mice, voles and shrews all love
rooting around, anywhere and everywhere, from late
Autumn onwards. Once they find one seed, you can
say goodbye to them all. However, none of the above
pests like hurting their snouts on sharp grit,
so always use sharp grit, or be prepared to help
a population explosion of these lovely little animals!
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eat clematis? sometimes my plants are covered in
No, ants do not eat clematis. What
they do, is "farm" the aphids that are
found on the clematis and which secrete a sweet
solution that ants love. If you get rid of the
greenfly, then the ants will leave your plants