How easily do clematis root from cuttings?

tepelus(6a SW MI)May 1, 2009

Because, something decided to snip the one and only stem on my multi blue clematis, and it had flower buds on it too. So I cut it up, just below a leaf union, or whatever you call it, and stuck them in some potting mix, inside a milk jug I used for sprouting seeds. If nothing comes of it, it's fine, just an experiment, but will these pieces root this way or not?


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According to my experience, Clematis cuttings are extremely difficult to root. Even if you will manage to root it, it will take several months. After that, the rooted plant is still very weak and vulnerable. If it will survive, it will take it at least two years to get established and bloom. Too much trouble for a common variety IMO.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:47PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Well, I'll let them go and see what happens. If it hadn't been for whatever varmint chomped it, I wouldn't be trying. But, it's an experiment. Thanks for the info.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:55PM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

I rooted a couple of Polish Spirit by sticking the cuttings inside sterile potting soil in a ziplock baggie. I kept them inside the first winter and I planted them outside in 1 gallon pots the following spring. They took off and even bloomed a bit in the fall. They're looking really good right now.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:43AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Having a vine chomped off won't hurt a Clematis in the slightest. Hard pruning helps them. Even tiny newly planted vines benefit from hard pruning.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:01AM
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I have rooted cuttings by the dozens. In the fall dig a trench and drop the clematis in it and cover it up with soil. In the spring there will be a myriad of plantlets growing from the vines. Cut as many as you need, scratch the bottom stem and dust with hormone powder. Plant in plastic sheet covered tray and moisten the soil, place in a shady spot. Once they've rooted, plant in an out of the way spot and ignore them till next year. Stand up the original plant and continue as before.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 6:46PM
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I have never had any luck rooting clematis from cuttings in soil or water. I have many clematis and would like to be able to do this so I may swap w/ friends. Boday mentioned their luck with what sounds like 'layering'. Could you pls clarify the procedure you use? Just lay a stem in a trench and cover. Maybe scar one side of the stem and dust w/ hormone powder and then cover w/ soil. Is this correct? What lenght of time passes before new growth is seen? Also I didn't understand the plastic covered tray part. Sorry to be so dense but would appreciate your help. Thank you

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 4:09PM
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I live in zone 4 so what I often do is in the fall I drop the clematis in a trench dug along the wall and cover it up with soil. This gives the plant a step up in the spring. If I delay digging it up each node will send up a mini plant through the soil. At that point I cut as many as I want, scar the under side at the nodes, dust with growth powder and plant in a potting tray, sterilized, moistened soil. I then use a dry cleaning bag to create a mini greenhouse and place it in the shade and check periodically for soil moisture. (A translucent small storage box from Wal Mart would probably work just as well). Most will root and if they're green they're growing. A month or so later I'll plant them in an out of the way area and ignore them till next year. This method gives you lots of plants to work with and you're not babysitting a bunch of stems that are very delicate. The thing is that this is time intensive (two years to a respectable plant) and buying a plant is quicker gratification. But plants are like people, some are better looking and hardier than others. These are the ones I propagate. Someone will show up and admire your clematis. At that point you go to your patch, pot one up and present it to them. Or if you have a long chain link fence in two years you have a blooming hedge.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:12AM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

So far, the three pieces I pushed into the potting mix haven't wilted, look just as good as the day I put them in the container. Now I probably jinxed!


    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 3:31PM
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If they're haven't wilted they should be fine. It's springtime. Most of the problems are that people get impatient, don't use sterile soil or maintain moisture. I've taken cuttings from an everblooming hydrangea or roses in the spring dusted them with hormone powder stuck them in the ground and they took root. There is a site on this forum on propagation, lots of good ideas.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 4:53PM
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Thank you boday for the extended explanation. I live in a much warmer climate (zone 7) but I will definitely give this method a shot on at least one stem per plant and see what comes up! This sound promising.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Very long story short, I had to take cuttings from a sentimentally valuable and very old clematis of my grandfather's last summer at the worst possible time of year - when it was in bloom. (He'd just passed away, family spat over special plantings, house intended to go up for sale asap, etc.) It was a plain old Jackmanii, but it was important for me to have a piece of the original plant I remembered from childhood. I came here for advice on taking cuttings and was directed to a web page which I followed to the letter (except timing of the cuttings).
The coarse medium they suggest sounds awful, but it worked. I now have five plants ready to go out as soon as the weather cooperates - three from the original old Jackmanii and two from Grandpa's other Jackmanii Rubra. One of the Rubras has already bloomed in the house - yikes!

(Btw, I've never grown a clematis in my life before, so those instructions and the help I got here was all I had to go off of. Thanks to all here who helped me out back then!)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 10:29PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

The procedure that boday describes sounds more like layering to me than starting clematis from cuttings. When you do clematis from cuttings, you take stems of still alive plants and put them into some sort of starting medium and they root in the medium. In layering, you put a vine or portions of vine underground and roots develop at the nodes. Once the plants get a sufficient root system, you cut the portions apart and pot them up. Starting clematis from cuttings is much more difficult than doing so by layering.

Congrats on the cuttings you got from your sentimental plant Macky.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 7:53PM
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tepelus(6a SW MI)

Congrats, Macky! And what a lovely flower it is.

P.S.- Cuttings are still alive. Yay!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 8:22PM
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I am curious to see what will happen with my cuttings and would appreciate folks sharing their opinions & expertise, too. A friend from church is in hospice care and, like macky77, I had some sentimental reasons for hoping cuttings would "take". I am amazed to see that some of the cuttings are now trying to bloom! Should I remove the buds? Is this an indication that the cutting is doing fine and is growing roots? The variety is tangutica (yellow); I don't know if that has any bearing at all. I read that it takes around 7 weeks for cuttings to root, which is why I'm surprised this new growth shows within only a couple of weeks. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:31PM
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I live in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it's winter now. Despite the -10° centigrade frosts my 3-year-old Xerxes clematis (group 2) is already producing fat healthy buds. I normally prune it lightly at the end of winter as soon as the buds appear, but I now wish to propagate it and wonder if I should take hardwood cuttings now or wait until the buds produce leaves and softwood cuttings. Will hardwood leafless (only buds) cuttings root readily? On the other hand, if I wait, will the plant flower less from the fact that it is spending extra energy on the portion I would normally have pruned?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:47PM
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I should prune my 3-year-old Xerxes clematis which is producing a lot of buds. I wish to propagate it and wonder if hardwood leafless (only buds) cuttings root readily? Or should I wait until softwood stems develop and then cut them off to propagate?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 7:42PM
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