My Evergreen Clematis Has Brown Leaves

Updated November 21, 2016

Clematis vines are popular landscaping plants that reliably produce a showy inflorescence that adds colour to home landscapes. While clematis is a hardy plant, the vines are susceptible to fungal problems during wet seasons that cause leaves to wilt and turn brown. Commonly referred to as clematis leaf and stem spot, the fungal disease only damages the portions of the plant above the ground. With proper care and attention, a brown clematis plant can be nursed back to health in your landscape.

Monitor your clematis vine regularly for signs of leaf and stem spot. According to Ohio State University, vines are usually damaged right before they begin to bloom, especially in periods with frequent rainfall.

Look for small lesions or discolouration on the stem of the vine just below the wilted leaves to confirm that the damage is caused by a fungal problem. The fungus limits the ability of a clematis vine to transport water through the stems of the vine, causing the leaves to turn brown.

Remove any infected stems of the vine with pruning shears as close to the ground as you can. The roots of clematis plants are not damaged by the fungus, and new shoots may develop in the same growing season, according to Washington State University.

Do not overwater new growth that develops from the roots of the clematis vine to prevent fungal problems from reappearing.


Sterilise pruning shears after removing infected clematis vines to prevent spreading the fungal infection to other plants on your property.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
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