Washed out and non-blooming clematis

Asked July 8, 2020, 6:03 AM EDT

We have several Clematis on the back of our house that are not blooming as well as last year. Some of the vines have tiny blooms that aren’t opening, while other vine have blooms that appear to be washed out. I’m not sure if I have the early or late blooming vines, but we have always cut the vines back In the fall and they have been fine in the spring. The plants are several years old. I don’t see any obvious signs on the leave or stems of pest damage, but did trap a few slugs. The area where they are planted Is mulched and faces southwest (full to part sun). I haven’t yet had the soil tested so I also haven’t fertilized. Any suggestion? Thank you Suzanne

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response


Clematis plants prefer well-drained soil that’s rich and loamy with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day but with the root zone cool.

There could be several reasons for no flowers. The plant may not be getting enough sunlight—has a tree grown to shade out the plant this year or has something else shaded it? Too much nitrogen promotes growth of leaves and stems but not flowers. I know that you have not fertilized the area, but could there be fertilizer run-off from another source such as a lawn. And finally, there could be an issue with the soil. I agree, a soil test would be a good place to start. To obtain a kit, go to https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/soil_test_kit_self-mailer .

I have heard from other sources that medium purple clematis were faded when they bloomed this year. Perhaps the soil test will give you an idea about the nutrients in the soil and what is needed to amend it.

Finally, I’m attaching an article from Longwood Gardens about clematis species and care. https://www.longfield-gardens.com/article/6-Tips-For-Growing-Clematis

I hope this answers your question.