Propagation of an unwanted species: Clematis akoensis

mark4321_gwMay 7, 2014

I only grow one Clematis. As an exchange for a defective Chilean Bellflower (Lapageria) lacking the normal coloration (all white), I was sent a couple rooted cuttings of Clematis akoensis.

Clematis akoensis is presumably undesirable because of its bicolored flowers, which are scented unlike most modern hybrids. See link at bottom for a photo I found online (not mine). Presumably because of its appearance, the flower has not been grown outside of its native Taiwan until very recently. It is a tropical species, tolerating little or no frost. So perhaps its lack of appeal is understandable.

A search of the Clematis forum, and Gardenweb as a whole for Clematis akoensis yields no results, indicating how unpopular this species is.

However, I think it's important that we all propagate some pure species (of whatever plants), not just manmade hybrids. So I decided to start some cuttings of Clematis akoensis, pictured below. All are single node, soft cuttings. I dipped the tips in Rootone (0.1% IBA) and am incubating them in moist perlite, under lights, indoors (roughly 70 F).

Perhaps some will object to the propagation of such a species that is clearly defective compared to many hybrids. I'll check the cuttings weekly for two months, and report back. If anyone can guess how many of the four cuttings successfully root (ties broken by a guess as to timing of rooting) I can send one of the rooted cuttings for postage. The recipient can then dispose of it or otherwise deal with it as they deem appropriate.

The 4 cuttings:

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Here's a photo of the leaves, which instead of being solid green, have white speckles on them. In the background is another species, a Passionflower, Passiflora loefgrenii, which also is bicolored.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:27PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

What's not to like! I hope your cuttings root.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 12:15AM
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I agree. Oftentimes the species is more lovely than the hybrids. Plus, there is a lot of genetic material that should be grown on. I think the flowers are gorgeous!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 1:42AM
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"unwanted" and "undesireable" seem to me rather unfair descriptive tems based on just a search of gardenweb. Rare I would agree with, but it is an endangered species in its native Taiwan, so its rarity is not unexpected. Also, its need for either a greenhouse or a warm climate also adds to its rarity, but neither of those make it undesireable. It is a lovely plant, and its blue stamens make it that much more attractive rather than less IMO.

If you look at forums where clematis collectors and breeders post, you will find it is discussed. GW attracts gardeners, many of whom are just beginning and so rare plants will be less likely to be discussed. I will see if Garden Web allows me to add a link to a different forum (though if you want to see the photo you have to join.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Buddies Clematis akoensis

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 9:25AM
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I was joking at times, and I thought I was being obvious. Sorry if this created any confusion.

I assume some people did figure out that I was not serious in all of my comments. Clematis akoensis is obviously a stunning species. That should have been the first clue. The suggestion that someone could receive a rooted cutting, only to "dispose of it", was also not subtle. The offer of one of one of the cuttings is of course for real.

I have found the plant easy to grow so far in my climate, even over the winter. It was cool but frost free, with most winter temperatures around 60/40 F. While C. akoensis is from the tropics, Southern Taiwan does cool down considerably in winter. The fact that it is from a region with hot, humid summers, yet continues to grow over a Northern California winter, suggests that it might be possible outside in (nearly?) frost-free climates in both California and Florida.

The plant is surprisingly easy to propagate, which is why I'm attempting such minimal cuttings.

I find this strange, but I'm told that the all white form is considered more "desirable".

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 4:12PM
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I thought your title referred to you not wanting to propagate it, but somehow had to. However, if it refers to other people not wanting to propagate it, I would ignore that totally. If you want to , go ahead!

As for the lack of information, it may relate more to not having that as a common clematis. You mentioned that it is native or mostly available in Taiwan, so I would even imagine that is a condition right there. It's just not a common or readily available variety here to be talked about. Or like the case with some of my hobbies and interests, there is plenty of discussion about it in Chinese or in Asian circles, but not in English.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 4:37PM
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The "unwanted" in the title of the post is there to make it ridiculous and ironic. The plant is of great interest to those familiar with it, including top nurseries and botanical gardens. If people are unaware, all it takes is a photo.

If I had enough material, I'd start a lot more cuttings. I would like to see it bloom before distributing it too much. Appparently it blooms reasonably small, so that will hopefully happen early next year.

I thought I read once that Taiwan actively kept it from leaving the country. The idea being that it was a national treasure that only belonged there. I may be misremembering this; perhaps it was merely due to laws protecting an endangered plant. My impression, though, is that there has been considerable interest in C. akoensis outside of Taiwan for a while. It was simply not available.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:05PM
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TulsaRose, Tulsa OK(7a)

Thanks for the input, Mark. This is a lovely Clematis species. While browsing for more info, ran across the common name and got a's rather musical. :-)

"ping dong tie xian lian"

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 7:22AM
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I have come across this post looking for tropical Clematis. Other than SAC, the only other I found is Clematis smilacifolia / Tropical clematis listed that can grow in South Florida. So if you know a source for this, I am very interested. I do note that you got this as rooted cutting.

Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clematis smilacifolia

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 3:32PM
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BTW, i think all 4 will take!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 5:52PM
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I will play. 3 will take.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 3:03PM
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sweet_betsy No AL Z7

Why not play? I'll go for two to take.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 3:11PM
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I'm going to say that one will take, because the rest of the numbers are taken. It is a LOVELY plant, and the flowers are just WOW! Is it fragrant?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:56PM
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Sorry to not reply to this thread in so long! At first it was because Gardenweb strangely stopped letting me know of responses. Then those magically restarted.

However at that point I wasn't sure what I had. When I started the cuttings they fairly soon got hit by fungus. One survived, leafless, for the longest time. It finally started to grow. Below is a photo from Sept. 9. It has since grown more. Guinnevtra guessed the correct number.

To answer the question about fragrance--yes, and it's supposed to be like honey from one description.

I fully expected to get 4 plants out of 4 cuttings. I've since switched to just rooting in a glass of water to avoid the fungus problem. That works well, and my first try I got 4 of 4 to root.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 2:44AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Thanks for updating. I have been wondering how the cuttings were doing.
Congrats on the one survivor.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 7:30AM
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That's great! I'm happy that at least one survived for you! You aren't having any problems rooting the other cuttings in water? I have been experimenting with several plants using cuttings in works for gardenias and wisteria, and a couple of plants that I don't have a name for, but doesn't work for acacia, or citrus. I have accidentally propagated my clematis (I'm unsure which kind it is), by not tying it up as well as I should have, and one of the vines touched the ground in a couple places. It is now growing roots in two places along the vine, yay!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Hi Guinnevtra,

The cuttings in water rooted fine. One of them was slower than the others--I think maybe it was a single node cutting. I just finally (!) potted it up but took a photo first.

I like to root in water where possible, and this works for a surprising number of plants. Perlite is, I think, most likely to work for the largest number of cuttings. Layering is frequently overlooked. I suspect that most plants that can be rooted in water are trivial by layering. Unfortunately the reverse is not true... One plant that I have that self-layers in nearby pots (and roots easily in water) is Passiflora sanguinolenta. A really amazing plant that is difficult to propagate, but can be layered easily (but apparently only by some) is Passiflora parritae. Unfortunately, its climate requirements (cool but frost free) limit it to cool areas of the California coast. It's off topic, but I suspect most members of this forum wouldn't mind a photo....

    Bookmark   September 20, 2014 at 11:50PM
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As promised, an off-topic photo of Passiflora parritae, climbing a tree at the San Francisco Botanical Garden (Strybing Arboretum). The vine died back severely in last year's freeze, but has partially recovered. Many other plants there were not so lucky.

The flowers are huge, by the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: Article on propagating P. parritae by layering, PDF file, p. 4-11

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 12:02AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Wow, that is a very impressive passiflora. I have not been there at the time this is in bloom.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 12:06PM
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I think that white and purple species clematis is gorgeous...propagate away and I wish I could grow it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 12:09PM
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WOW!! The passiflora parritae is really beautiful! Absolutely stunning!!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 12:46PM
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I'm told that last summer was the best ever blooming of Passiflora parritae. The photo was from early August, near the peak. There are usually flowers between about May through November. Surprisingly, the plant can be hard to find if one does not know where to look, and the Arboretum intentionally does not list the location in their database. Apparently they are worried people will swipe cuttings (which probably almost always fail).

Last winter it hit maybe 27 degrees, with a freeze on probably 3 mornings. Most of the vine was killed back. It was blooming nicely when I was there in August, but nothing a week ago.

The plant does well in San Francisco because of the cool, humid climate, which averages about 67/55 in the summer, and 10 degrees cooler in the winter. It can take a little more heat, but I've never heard of it succeeding anywhere but California near the coast (or Bay). In theory it could also be grown in a greenhouse kept at the appropriate temperature (heated in winter, cooled in summer most places). However it would take a lot of space.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 3:31PM
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(duplication deleted)

This post was edited by mark4321 on Mon, Sep 22, 14 at 15:35

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 3:32PM
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