A Happy Clematis Recovery

When I left home Monday morning I was not hopeful about my ‘Multi-Blue’ Clematis. Returning home on Friday, I expected the worst: a vine full of drooping buds and brown, wilted leaves. Instead, ‘Multi-Blue’ did not have a single drooping flower bud. There were a few wilted leaves, but the foliage was mostly clean.


I thought that ‘Multi-Blue’ was suffering from Clematis wilt. However, Christina of My Hesperides Garden pointed out that it might be something else entirely, such as slug or snail damage. Turns out that, according to the British Clematis Society website, Clematis wilt is “relatively rare”.

DSC_0101If it really were Clematis wilt, I assume that the disease would have progressed by the time I returned on Friday. I can’t be sure what or who did the earlier damage, but the worst seems to be over.

DSC_0102This vine is in its second year in our garden. ‘Multi-Blue’ can get to around 8′ tall, this one is about 6′ right now. It’s got about 10 flower buds at the moment – not exactly covered with flowers, but not bad. It’s supposed to be a repeat bloomer, so in theory I’ll get blooms through the summer if I keep up with the deadheading.


Last year we got only a few flowers from this vine, and not much rebloom. What flowers we did get were damaged by earwigs, which haven’t been a problem this year.

I’m thinking of planting a second vine on this tuteur. Either another shorter Clematis, or maybe a Trumpet Honeysuckle. What do you think?


24 Comments on “A Happy Clematis Recovery”

  1. Glad to see it recover, Jason! If you plant another clematis, use one from Group II like Multiblue – it makes it much easier to prune them together in the spring. Honeysuckle vine might overwhelm the clematis – it is a slow starter but a robust plant after 3 years.

    Clematis wilt is often the result of damage to the stems closer to the ground; I wrap chicken wire around the lower stems to protect them from accidental damage and that seems to work.

  2. Symptoms such at wilt are difficult to diagnose as so many things can cause it, both disease and non-disease. I had wilt issues with my eggplant a couple of years ago and was convinced it was verticilium wilt which is not curable and, even worse, the fungus can remain in the soil for years. Then I read that eggplant are sensitive to over-watering so I cut the watering down by half and they completely recovered.

  3. A couple of years ago, I wrote about two of my clematis had clematis wilt. I had contacted the Morton Arboretum plant hotline to talk to them about what was happening since the die back was quite dramatic and sudden. Seems there was a lot going around that year and hits just as they are blooming. Plants were done for the year, but cut it all back, cleaned up the area and they’ve come back fine after that. Fingers crossed! Glad yours seems fine. Hate to not have these beauties in the garden.

  4. I have a Clematis entwined with Graham Thomas Honeysuckle and it is very lovely indeed. However the Honeysuckle has reached the second flour and it’s working its way up farther, climbing on the downspout. The Clematis climbs on the Honeysuckle so no problem there!

  5. That blue clematis is gorgeous! I think it would complement honeysuckle well, as long as it does not get overwhelmed by it. ‘Major Wheeler’ is a beautiful honeysuckle that only grows to about 6-10 feet.

  6. I have read lots of times that when Clematis Wilt is blamed, there are usually other culprits – typically slugs and snails chewing around the stems at the base. Your “Multi Blu” looks so much healthier but goodness me that tower has character!

  7. Glad your clematis is healthy. My trumpet honeysuckle would overwhelm that tuteur and drag it down; I’m guessing in a few years, the clematis may do the same. Have you considered pairing it with an annual vine instead? I’m thinking something like Black Eyed Susan Vine or Cardinal Climber.

  8. I enjoyed the pics of your garden clematis, Jason. I just posted some of the wild blue clematis I took recently. I was struck by how different the wild and domestic variety are in colour, structure and growth. A most interesting world out there. 🙂

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