Why Do Clematis Suddenly Turn Brown?


Clematis (Clematis spp.) is a large group of flowering vines well adapted to growing in all climates. The plants come in a range of deciduous and evergreen mature forms and a wide choice of flower colors. A root rot disease leads to clematis turning brown.


  • Root rot is a fungal disease caused by the phytophthora fungi. The fungus infects the roots of clematis causing a disruption in the flow of water and nutrients through the infected plant. This in turn causes the plant to brown and wilt suddenly.


  • Initial symptoms resemble drought stress. This is followed by sudden discoloration and wilting of the plant. Infected plants die very quickly as soon as the weather gets warm. Foliage often takes on a red and purple shade. Root rots are more common in younger plants and kills them rapidly.


  • Avoid planting in wet and poorly drained areas. Use resistant varieties in areas with prior cases of phytophthora infection. Use the fungicide fosetyl-al as a foliar spray but only in conjunction with adequate cultural management.

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