Can you divide Clematis?

donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)November 16, 2009

Hello everyone. This is my first visit to your forum. I posed this question on the perennials forum but got conflicting and not confident answers. Hope you can help. I have a Rooguchi (spelling?) that is 3 to 5 years old. Wonderful plant. I would like to have another in another place in my yard, but they're hard to find around here. Can mine be divided? If not, how would you propagate it?

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bob414(USDA 9, Sunset 15)

Layering is your best bet. Here is a link to a page that describes different methods to propagate clematis.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 10:34PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

I'm trying to do the same with my Roguchi. I've cut it and pegged it down, and we'll see if I have roots this spring. Good luck to both of us. I have also had some luck with dividing them, but I don't like to do it unless the mother plant is pretty big.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 10:25AM
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Donna, this is a topic that arises here periodically and unfortunately has no clearcut answer :-) You can successfully divide some clematis, however timing is important and the appearance/growth habit of the plant as well. There is always a risk involved - not as simple as dividing a herbaceous perennial - and given my choice, I'd go with layering as a first means of propagation.

But if yours is a big, healthy plant with multiple stems arising from the root crown, you could give it a try. This is recommended to be done while the plant is still dormant but just before new growth begins - late February or early March. Remove as much of the soil as you can from the rootball and carefully straighten out the roots. Divide the crown carefully so that each stem or group of stems have a healthy clump of roots attached. Replant as quickly as possible.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2009 at 11:17AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Gardengal, you are amazing. I can perfectly picture how to do it now, and am delighted that there is plenty of time for this year. Thank you very much. I will report back on how it goes so that at least everyone will know about this specific one.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 4:47PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I successfully divided a Durandii this spring. I wasn't trying to, I just wanted to move it but I missed some of it when digging (it had multiple stems and was in between two shrub roses) and now I have two.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 12:20PM
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Gardengal gives good information :)

Because I was moving this plant and wanted a few more of this particular variety, I had carefully dug it up and shook the soil off, making it easier to untangle the roots. Had I simply intended to move the entire plant, I would NOT have removed the soil. The plant had been set deeply and thrown all sorts of roots from the underground buried stems ... I could have easily gotten twenty plants, each with a decent root system, but of couse, I don't need that many! And, no, I had not let the roots dry out.

BTW ... always fan and layer the roots out very well while incorporating the soil between them ... this is IMPORTANT!


    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 10:42PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

man, if i ever have clematis that mega/healthy, i will be a wicked happy camper. Looks like "the clematis that ate chicago"! i JEAlous!!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 12:11AM
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Hi Mindy ... the root(s) shown are of 'Ville de Lyon', what a bugger to dig up! It's my favorite variety, I now have three of the beauties :)

Yesterday, I tackled 'Perle d' Azur', the root had easily seperated into three pieces ... it's another favorite :)


    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 9:46PM
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Terry, I unpotted a Hagley Hybrid / President combo from a large pot from my dearly departed mum, and had to root prune the large clumped up roots from the very bottom part of the pot. There was no way I was going to be able to tease them apart as they had taken on brick solidarity. I did not separate the plants as I quite like the combination, dug an enormous hole ammended everything with the most delicious compost you can imagine and stuck the whole thing in it. Have I effectively killed them both with the root pruning???? Lordy, I hope not, they are planted in my mothers memorial garden and she will not be pleased!!! Lie to me, if necessary:)


    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Hi Kat, I won't lie to you, your plant will be fine :) ... those roots will regrow within that "delicious" amended soil you've provided. My sister had done the same with her potted Ville de Lyon, though she really went at it and carved all the way around the outside rootball. I had said it was best if she could just transplant the thing into a larger pot without damaging the roots, though the container was already so heavy that it was difficult to move when needing to provide for winter protection ... so, she did the hack job. The results being that her plant wasn't as vigorous, though still had flowered pretty well and certainly didn't suffer overly terribly much. On the other hand, you had removed only the bottom roots and then the thing was planted in a large hole with really great soil ... both you and your mother will be smiling at the results :) PS I'm sorry for your loss, it's certainly a difficult matter to endure the passing of loved ones ...


    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 12:10AM
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Terry, thanks a million for the good news:) The weather is a wee bit chilly on mothers toes so I have mulched with leaves all around the roses and the clems, this was exactly where she asked to be.. thanks again. Kat

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 11:06PM
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Kat, in spring, when your two clematis plants break into new growth and later begin to flower, I'm sure you'll have both smiles and tears when thinking of your mother ...


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 8:43PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

root prune? How do you do that and why?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2009 at 8:21PM
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Pippi21, root pruning isn't something I casually recommend for clematis, only possibly when a plant has outgrown its container and providing a larger pot or planting into the ground is not an option. A sharp knife can be used to slice off the outer layer of the tangled and thickly massed exterior rootball, just say OUCH while doing it, lol. The plant should be given some fresh soil when repotted, it'll be less vigorous that season, though otherwise should be fine.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 11:49PM
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