No More Clematis Wilt
This time of year many gardeners are cutting back clematis because they have succumbed to clematis wilt. Typically the vines begin by looking limp and drought-stressed. Several weeks later, they brown and die. The vines can be cut to the ground and will grow next year, but what gardener enjoys seeing their clematis die mid-growing season?
Not all genera of clematis are susceptible to clematis wilt and as a result of breeding there are several new cultivars on the market with amazing flowers NOT susceptible to clematis wilt. Our resident clematis expert, Jeff Jabco, notes that clematis bred with C. viticella in the background are typically not susceptible to the disease.
Clematis ‘Huldine’ is one of these cultivars. A winner of the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit, C. ‘Huldine’ is considered the best repeat-blooming white clematis. The profuse, 4-inch blooms cover this vigorous climber. Prune this climber back to 12 inches just above a leaf joint in February.
A winner of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Award, C. ‘Betty Corning’ is a sweetly scented, clematis wilt-resistant selection. This heavy bloomer has pale lavender bells with finely-textured foliage. Because it blooms on new growth, prune all the stems back to about 12” in late winter.For plentiful deep red, velvety flowers from midsummer to fall with no clematis wilt, look no farther than C. [Burning LoveTM] = ‘Vitiwester’. This easy-growing climber is great in containers, on a trellis, or growing on a small tree. Blooming on new growth, all stems of C. Burning LoveTM should be pruned to 12” in late winter.
Clematis ‘Princess Diana’ has tulip-shaped, lipstick-pink flowers with pale pink margin. This wilt-resistant cultivar is great for growing on trellises, over stumps, or as a ground cover. It blooms on current year’s growth. To rejuvenate, cut it back to a leaf bud about 8 to 12” from the ground in late winter.
Say goodbye the disappointment of clematis wilt in your garden. These and many other unquie clematis are available at the 2015 Scott Arboretum Plant Sale (September 11 to 13). See the complete list of clematis at the sale in the Plant Sale Handbook.