I sincerely wish I didn’t have to write about this dilemma, but it is my royal duty to help you protect your clematis. Depending on where you garden, as soon as they start to come out of dormancy is a crucial time to be on the lookout for one of your clematis’ nasty adversaries… the snail (as well as slugs to a lesser extent). The new growth of your clematis is a snail magnet because it is so darn delectable to them. Not having a snail’s taste buds, I suppose clematis are no tastier than many other of your valued plants, but I take it very personally when something dines on mine.
As you can see from my pictures, these nasty mollusks graze on clematis leaves, but I consider it a major crime when they graduate from a misdemeanor to a felony and devour the flower. They do this by chowing down on the tips of the buds or by feasting on the tepals. In cases where their population is out of control, these little slimebags can turn your beautiful blooms into Swiss cheese. Trust me, there is nothing worse than going out in your garden to discover that these nocturnal feeders have banqueted on your babies. For me, even the tiniest tidbit that has been taken from my blossoms is too much! So, my advice to you is “don’t let your guard down” and always be diligent in your quest to quash this clematis carnage.
FYI…I have a valid excuse for allowing the destruction of my C. ‘Teshio’ blooms because it was in May 2009, the month of my daughter’s wedding, so my clematis ultimately had to take a back seat to my usual TLC.