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How to Propagate Clematis Vines

By Amma Marfo ; Updated September 21, 2017
Large clematis flowers come in a variety of colors.

A healthy clematis vine that blooms well and consistently in your garden or around your home is worth propagating. You can propagate clematis vines in a number of ways, but the easiest methods for most gardeners are by layering or taking cuttings. While layering can occur outside with very little work, taking cuttings is best for those who have indoor space available and specifically want or need the new plants to be in pots for transplanting elsewhere.

Layering

Select a mature stem in the fall that is long enough to bend over and touch the ground. If your clematis is attached to a trellis, you may need to free it from the trellis to get it to touch the ground.

Find the point on the ground where your clematis vine touches, and break up the soil to loosen it at that point. Work a small spot in the soil, only 4 inches wide and 6 inches deep to prepare it.

Rest the vine on the loosened soil, and use a U-shaped pin to straddle the vine and hold it down along the ground loosely, without putting excess pressure on the vine. Be sure the tip of the vine can still reach sunlight and is growing upright.

Keep the layered vine well watered as the roots begin to grow off from a node area of the vine and into the soil. Water the soil anytime it feels dry to the touch, backing off over the winter but resuming again as spring temperatures rise.

Clip the vine portion that connects the parent plant to the new plant in late spring to detach them. The new plant can be left as is or dug up and replanted in a new location.

Taking Cuttings

Clip a 4-to-6-inch piece of clematis vine in late spring from a half-hardened shoot which is still somewhat soft rather than completely woody. Cut the stem so that it begins and ends just before and just after a bud.

Fill a small pot with a mix of two parts sand and one part peat. Dip the bottom tip of your stem 1 inch deep into hormone rooting powder and then into the center of your pot. Insert the cutting only halfway down into the soil mixture.

Water the pot well to moisten the soil without making it soggy. Cut the top off a soda bottle, and turn the bottle upside down over your watered cutting to act as a greenhouse.

Set the pot in a sunny window where it can remain warm, bright and well-moistened for the next five to six weeks. As new growth appears at the top of the stem, you’ll know the roots have grown successfully.

Transplant the successful cutting outdoors in late summer to a new location. If your cutting starts to turn black or the leaf portions die off, then the cutting didn’t root and it should be discarded.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Hand trowel
  • U-shaped pins, such as for landscaping fabric
  • Hand pruners
  • Small pot
  • Builder's sand
  • Peat
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • Sharp knife

Tip

  • As you plant your new clematis plants into other areas of your landscaping, keep in mind that clematis prefers morning sun and moist roots.