Clematis (Clematis spp.) is a large family of flowering vines best adapted to areas with cold winters. The evergreen or deciduous vines come in a range of sizes and variety of flower colors. A fungal infection causes clematis foliage to start dying.
Clematis wilt is a serious fungal disease caused by Phoma clematidina, as cited by Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds in "An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis." The fungus infects the plant through any aboveground plant area.
The fungus affects the vascular, water and nutrient, conducting tissues in plants causing wilting and death of foliage, flowers and stems. Once the fungus enters the plant, it spreads very fast. Healthy plant areas suddenly wilt and collapse. Stems that are bare and those containing flowers and foliage turn black and die.
The disease is potentially fatal with no chemical-control strategies. Remove all affected aboveground plant areas. Cut severely infected plants to the ground. Use disinfected tools for pruning. Remove repeatedly affected plants entirely including the roots. Replace the soil before new planting.