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This is not a detailed account of how to root clematis cuttings. There is an excellent video on YouTube which will give you detailed instructions, better than I ever could. Note that the author says it doesn't really matter what medium you use. You certainly do not have to buy a seed starter mix. Any loose, fibrous and rich medium will do well. You can find the video here.
This tip is to help you know that your cuttings are probably alive and well when you might think they are dead. In the above picture we see a pan of clematis cuttings. The cuttings have been inserted for a month. All the leaves which were attached to the cuttings have fallen off and have been removed to help prevent mold. There appears to be no life in the pan.
I have lifted four cuttings to give you a better idea of what is actually in the medium. These cuttings were inserted to the point where the leaf stem meets the rooting stem. There appears to be no life in these cuttings.
I lifted another cutting, took a picture and blew it up. Here you can see a tiny bud emerging on the right side of the node. This is on a cutting that has appeared to be dead for the past three weeks.
And finally, more searching around in the pan reveals even more life in these cuttings which at first glance, appear completely dead.
You will note that no roots have yet developed on these cuttings. On some, roots will begin to develop in a few days. In others, it could be another month or more. In all that time, many of the cuttings will appear completely dead. Do not discard any cuttings for at least 3 months, no matter how dead they might appear. If you do, you could very well be discarding a potentially live and healthy future clematis vine.
Thank you for showing this as I have lost numerous plants when a "helper" pulled up what they thought was a dead cutting. Many of my rose cuttings are like this and so I try to keep my cuttings in a "no touch" area so I can hopefully save as many as possible.
Your photos capture the happenings well. I play music for my plants and I love to see those little green specks arrive!
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I love clematis and I have bought 3 plants this year. My garden is all around the perimeter of my yard with a fence. I would like to have them growing eventually all around but the expense is not within my budget. How can I start new plants from clippings of my already purchased plants?
Karen from Leamington, Ontario Canada
The most common ways to propagate clematis (other than from seed) is by cuttings or layering. Cuttings tend to have a lower success rate and layering tends to take longer. Cuttings can be taken in May or June from shoots containing this year's growth. The shoots should be semi-hard wood (not too green, yet not fully hardened) and contain 2 to 3 leaf nodes. Wound the cuttings slightly by scraping off a small amount of plant tissue around the base. Dip them into a rooting hormone and place them in a pot filled with a light rooting mix (e.g. 2 parts sand, 1 part peat). Cut the bottom leaves off (leaving only stubs) and cut the top leaves in half. This will help reduce moisture loss. Moisten the rooting mix and cover the entire pot with a plastic dome made from a cut off 2-liter soda bottle (remove the cap). With good light and warm temperatures, the cuttings should root in 5 to 6 weeks. Cuttings taken in the early spring (May) sometimes take longer to root, so be patient. If you see roots by August, go ahead and plant the rooted cuttings outdoors. If you don't see any roots by then, keep the cuttings indoors over winter and plant them next spring.
Layering clematis is usually much easier for people than taking cuttings and you can do this in the fall. Select a mature stem (this year's or last year's growth) and slice a cut into it about 3 to 4 inches from the tip. This slit is where the new roots will emerge. Prop the wound open with a small piece of toothpick or grain of rice and dust it with a rooting hormone (one that contains a fungicide, if possible). Bend the shoot so that you can secure the wounded node to the soil with a bent piece of wire and then cover it lightly with soil. Rooting may take as long as 9 - 12 months, but once formed, you can cut the rooted portion away from the parent plant, carefully dig it up and move it to the desired location.
For more information on propagating clematis visit the International Clematis Society (http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/clematis/prop.htm).
Good Luck! Ellen
For those of you who couldn't get this link to work (I couldn't),
Here is a link to an excellent video with information on starting Clematis from cuttings.I've tried this method and it works very well.
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|Is it possible to root clematis clippings?|
|Rooting Clematis from Clippings||07/14/2005|
|It's easy just clip a healthy tip about 8 inches long remove 1 inch from top, leave 2 leaves there, strip all leaves from the bottom and put in a class of water keep topping it up till you get good root then pot up.|
|By Helen (Guest Post)|
|Rooting Clematis from Clippings||07/17/2005|
|Thanks, Helen, I'll try it following your directions.|