How To Save Overwatered Clematis? (3 Signs & Solutions)

If you have an overwatered clematis and don’t know how to save the plant, read on and this is the only guide you need.

How To Save Overwatered Clematis (3 Signs & Solutions)

Clematis is a thirsty plant that needs too much water, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overwater them. If a plant is standing in water, irrespective of its type (water plants excluded), they get sick.

If you feel like you’ve been overwatering your clematis for some time, take the guesswork out of your head and start analyzing for signs immediately.

Overwatered clematis plants usually have curly or discolored leaves, slow growth, very less flowers, rotten roots, and fungi in the soil. To save the plant, stop watering for a week and see if the signs are reversing. If not, repot or transplant your clematis in a new container or location after treating the roots.

Occasional overwatering is not a problem. But, prolonged overwatering triggers root rot and may kill the plant itself if timely action is not taken.

This article explains everything in detail related to overwatered clematis plants including signs and step-by-step solutions.

Signs Of Overwatered Clematis

Overwatered clematis frequently exhibit signs including yellow, curly, and droopy leaves. It can also cause other problems like root rot, permanently damp soil, the presence of fungus, slower growth, and less number of flowers throughout the season.

1. Leaf issues

Discoloration in leaves is the first sign of any plant problem and that includes overwatering as well. 

When overwatered, the roots of your clematis vine are standing in water and they are not capable of transporting oxygen and enough nutrients from the soil. As a result, the plant starts to conserve energy and very less energy is available for the leaves which makes them fade.

At first, the clematis leaves turn yellow, then brown. If the underlying problem is not solved yet, they will curl and die eventually.

These leaf issues are pretty common for most clematis problems like underwatering, overwatering, sunburn, diseases, etc. So, you must analyze all the other symptoms before concluding.

2. No growth & flowers

Most of the clematis varieties are fast and vigorous growers.

When the roots cannot deliver enough nutrients, the clematis plants can’t make enough energy to support new growth. As a result, the overall growth rate of the plant starts to decrease. At some point, the growth completely stops and the plant goes dormant.

This happens to its flowering capabilities as well. To produce flowers, clematis plants need to generate a lot of energy, and overwatered clematis cannot make that enough. This will result in a very less number of flowers or no flowers at all even during peak season.

Just like leaf issues, slower or stunted growth can be a sign of other common clematis problems.

3. Root Rot

If you’ve been overwatering your clematis for quite some time (months), then it might have already triggered root rot which is a very severe problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.

It is not 100% possible to know whether your clematis has root rot or not without uprooting the plant. However, signs like damp soil, mold or fungus on the top layer, rotten egg smell, etc are sure shot signs of root rot.

How To Save Overwatered Clematis?

The first step in saving an overwatered clematis is by analyzing the severity of the problem. Depending on the damage in the roots, either stop watering your clematis for a few days till the soil becomes dry or repot the plant in a new container with freshly prepared soil mixture.

To make everything clear, here are the step-by-step guidelines to help you revive your clematis vine from overwatering.

1. Analyze the soil

As I already mentioned, analyzing the severity of the conditions is always the first step in fixing any plant problems including overwatering. Do you remember exactly when you started noticing the above-mentioned symptoms?

Saving your overwatered clematis depends on the severity of the overwatering. If the symptoms have just been present for a few weeks, the damage caused by overwatering is not as serious and your plant is still easily recoverable. However, if you’ve been overwatering your clematis for a while (like months), it’s likely that the roots have already been harmed and that you will need to treat them at the root level to recover the plant.

2. Stop watering

If you are 100% sure that symptoms started appearing only a couple of weeks back, then all you have to do is stop watering till the top layer of the soil starts to become dry. The emphasis here is ‘starts to dry’ and not completely dry. Clematis vine does not like to have completely dry soil between watering cycles.

Once the top 2 inches start to dry, water the plant thoroughly. 

Repeat this process for two weeks. If there is no root-level damage, you will start to see the clematis recovering and staying fresh and healthy again.

3. Transplant the plant

As I already mentioned, prolonged overwatering can cause root rot in clematis plants. Gardeners who’ve been overwatering for quite some time (like months) need to transplant or repot the vine to revive the plant from root rot.

For that, first, you have to inspect the roots for how severe the damage is. 

Slowly uproot the plant from the existing container and analyze the roots. If the roots are mushy and have a decaying smell, then root rot is confirmed.

To fix root rot, wash the existing roots of your clematis vine with running water. Then using sterilized scissors, remove all the unhealthy and rotten roots. After that, treat the healthy roots with rooting hormone and hydrogen peroxide solution.

Depending on your clematis size, choose a container and place the plant inside. It is recommended to use freshly prepared soil mixture. From now onwards, water correctly and never let the plant sit in water-soaked soil.

Overwatered Clematis – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is natural to have a series of questions and doubts when you find that you are doing something wrong. And that applies to overwatering a clematis plant as well. In this section, I will answer some of the most commonly asked questions on the internet about overwatered clematis.

How do you know if clematis is overwatered?

You can easily tell whether you are overwatering your clematis or not by analyzing the plant properly. The signs to look for include leaves curling or discoloration, stunted growth, low flower density, the rotten or mushy smell from the base, heavy and waterlogged soil, etc.

Will overwatered clematis recover on their own?

Depending on the severity, your clematis may or may not recover from the aftermath of overwatering. If the damages are in the early state and you stop overwatering, the plant will recover in a couple of weeks on its own. However, if the overwatering has damaged the roots, then without you repotting the plant and treating root rot, the clematis won’t recover.

How to prevent overwatering clematis?

The ideal way to prevent overwatering is pretty simple, water the plant only when it needs. Clematis plants love water and they prefer not to dry out between watering. So, whenever the top layer of the soil ‘starts to dry’, you can apply water. Alternatively, if your clematis is in a container, you can try bottom-watering or self-watering pots as well.


Overwatering is a serious issue. Even though clematis plants love moisture, they do have an upper limit in water consumption. When you go beyond that limit, they start to show signs like yellow leaves, stunted growth, very low flowers, etc. If you find that you’ve been overwatering for quite some time, follow the above guidelines and recover the plant immediately.

As always, it is your responsibility to make sure that your clematis is getting the right amount of water.

Water your clematis right and enjoy the flowers and fragrance it provides throughout the season.

Divider In Leaf Design


To back up the information we provide in our articles, the Plantials team only uses high-quality sources published in peer-reviewed university or scientific research journals.

  1. A Preliminary Study On The Introduction And Cultivation Of Clematis, Acta Botanica Yunnanica, Europe PMC.
  2. Clematis For The Northeastern States, Harvard University, Via Jstor
  3. Clematis Wilt, Annual Report Glasshouse Crops Research Institute, Via Cab Direct.
  4. An Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Clematis, Book By Mary Toomey & Everett Leeds, British Clematis Society.

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