If you have a clematis vine you love (or a friend does), this tip shows you how to take cuttings to create more vines—that’s what propagation is. It’s a great way to get free plants without much effort.
I’ll walk you through the steps so you can propagate your vines this spring.
Free Plants from the Ones you Have
Propagate! Propagate! Propagate! That’s what I say when people ask how to get lots of plants without spending much money. Of course you first need to know what ‘propagation’ means. For plants, it really just means growing more plants from existing plants. And when it comes to clematis, it’s simple and you’ll save a lot of money.
How To Propagate Clematis
- To successfully propagate clematis, you’ll need an established vine (two years or older) to take cuttings from.
- If you don’t know what’s possible, check out all these varieties on Amazon.
- This works best in late spring.
- Two-year old+ clematis vine.
- Plastic bag with tablespoon of water.
- 3″ pot with good quality potting soil.
- Rooting hormone.
- Sharp cutting knife and cutting board.
- Plastic ziplock bag large enough for container/pot.
STEPS 1. Get a 3-foot cutting from an existing clematis vine. Snip it off just above a leaf joint.
- Look at the vine. You’ll notice that the shoots of the vine are very green where the growth is new. As the vine ages, it becomes woody and the colour is deeper, perhaps brown. The piece you cut will be green at the tips and woody where you cut it.
- I carry a plastic bag with some water in it and put the freshly cut end in the water until I’m ready for Step 2.
2. Cut the shoot in the 3 locations shown below.
- Place the shoot on a cutting board.
- Put the top of the vine (the green end) at the top of the cutting board.
- Start at the first leaf joint from the bottom.
- Cut 1″ ABOVE the leaf joint (#1 in the image above).
- Cut OFF the leaf on the left side (#2 in the image above).
- Cut 2″ BELOW the leaf joint (#3 in the image above).
That’s your first piece for propagation. You can usually get several pieces like this one from a 3 foot piece of vine but don’t use the very green tips – they’re too young to grow roots. 2b – BONUS CUT – Ignore this if it seems too complicated
- You can actually use both leaves (instead of cutting one off), if the stem is wide enough to split down the middle with a knife (cut down the middle from A to B).
- If this is overwhelming, just do step 2 and move on to step 3.
3. Dip the vine base in rooting hormone.
Place small amount of rooting hormone in clean dish, dip stem in powder, tap off excess. To avoid contamination, avoid dipping directly in the rooting hormone container.
4. Insert cutting into 3″ pot (with potting soil), leaning it against the inner side of the pot.
- Cover stem (the part with rooting hormone on it) with potting soil.
Repeat with more cuttings. I usually fit 8 it one pot. If you haven’t prepared that many, it’s fine.
5. Water the potting soil until moist but not dripping wet.
6. Sit pot in plastic ziplock bag.
- Close bag and keep in warm spot with indirect sun.
- Make sure contents remain moist.
In approximately 2-4 weeks, you should see new roots forming. That’s when it’s time to put the plants in individual pots. When repotted, give them time to grow bigger and then either plant them out well ahead of fall frost, or, if you have adequate grow lights, keep them indoors until spring.
More Propagation Tips
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