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Clematis, the clematis, delights with lush and impressive flowers, especially in the summer months. But sooner than expected, the splendor can be over. Because it wilts again and again and presents its gardener with a task that is not always easy to solve. With our help, you will be able to identify causes and define measures for a speedy recovery.

Clematis dies

There can be a variety of reasons why a clematis stops growing, wilts or dies. In most cases, however, the problem can be narrowed down to a few aspects, so that you can easily get to the heart of the problem with our list.

clematis wilt

A very common reason for a very quickly dying clematis is the so-called clematis wilt. It is a fungus, or more precisely two different strains of fungi. Depending on the type of fungus, the disease is called differently and the symptoms and effects also vary accordingly:

Fusarium clematis wilt

  • Pathogen: Coniothyrium clematidis rectae fungus
  • Damage: Blockage of the pathways in the above-ground parts of the plant
  • Effects: withering, drying up and dying of entire shoots despite sufficient water and nutrient supply
  • Remedy: Generous removal and disposal of affected shoots

Phoma wilt

  • Pathogen: fungus Ascochyta clematidina
  • Damage: initially small light brown-yellowish spots on the underside of the leaves, later dark spots distributed over the entire leaf
  • Effects: The affected leaves die off, spread to entire shoots and branches, and the plant dies
  • Remedy: Immediate removal and disposal of the affected areas, use of suitable, approved fungicides

danger: The Phoma wilt spreads extremely quickly and can lead to the death of all above-ground parts of the plant after just two weeks. If the disease occurs, immediate action should be taken.

With both types of wilting, there is a chance that the plant will recover. However, if the phoma wilt is significantly advanced, the loss of all above-ground shoots can rarely be avoided. However, a well-established plant is able to sprout again the following season. If you also want to prevent a new infection, you can replace the soil around the plant. In this way, fungal spores that have spread to the soil are eliminated and do not immediately find their way back to the host.

notice: Clematis hybrids are particularly susceptible to the dreaded wilt. These are variants specially bred for particularly large and lush flowers, whose optical advantages were bought with a significant loss of resilience.


Although clematis is not one of the weak eaters, it does not cope well with too many nutrients. Especially when using long-term fertilizers, the over-fertilization only occurs with a time delay due to the gradual release and identifying the cause can be made considerably more difficult. However, too many nutrients can disrupt the osmotic balance of the plant in such a way that the tissue dries up and dies. The most sensitive parts of the plant are often affected first, i.e. the tips of the leaves and the ends of young shoots.


  • Set fertilizer application
  • Water the plant intensively for a short time to flush out nutrients
  • Remove visible fertilizer (e.g. horn shavings, manure, etc.).
  • Replace soil when using slow-release fertilizer
Clematis macropetala 'Rosy O'Grady''

lack of water

Since the clematis needs a lot of water, too much of a good thing is less common than too little. It is very sensitive to drought. A sufficiently large moisture reservoir is therefore important. With potted plants in particular, there is otherwise a great deal of effort for regular watering.


  • Water intensively
  • Increase soil volume in potted plants for more water storage
  • If necessary, add storing clay granules etc
  • For outdoor plants, improve excessively water-permeable soil with garden soil

danger: Waterlogging should be avoided at all costs, as mold and rot can develop on the roots in standing water. A soil with good storage capacity, which is equipped with a drainage layer underneath, is therefore optimal. There is always enough water, but excess moisture can seep away and is conducted away from the root system.

tip: The thumb test helps to determine the right level of moisture. If you press the soil in with your thumb, it should feel damp to the depth of your thumb. If this is no longer the case, watering is required!

feeding damage

Numerous animals love the clematis. Each species has its own preferences, so that hardly any part of this plant does not seem threatened:


They love the young side shoots of the roots and thus destroy the basis of the supply of every clematis.


  • Provide a protective grid in the ground around the root ball
  • In case of intensive infestation, use baits and live traps

danger: The vole grid must be provided on the side and under the root ball as complete protection. Otherwise, the vole can simply bypass it and the plant will die, even though enormous effort has been made.


Grubs are far more difficult to get a hold of. These May and June beetle larvae develop in the soil and feed on the roots of surrounding plants. Their feeding speed can mean the death of the entire plant after just a few days.

Rose chafer grubs


  • Prevention by using insect protection nets
  • Dig up plants and exchange soil or throw it through a compost sieve, collect larvae
  • In the case of intensive infestation and large amounts of clematis, use nematodes (roundworms), which infest and kill the grubs


Snails love the young shoot tips of the clematis. Eaten off in large numbers, their absence leads to a standstill in the growth of the plant and to drying out due to the numerous injuries. At the same time, there are countless points of attack for pathogens such as the clematis wilt fungi to colonize the organism.


  • Collect snails and release them elsewhere (e.g. forest or meadow)
  • Build snail barriers around plants
  • Settle natural predators, such as hedgehogs and birds, e.g. nesting or breeding opportunities

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