A very popular vine grown in cottage gardens is clematis. There is such a variety of clematis you can grow and enjoy. You can never have enough so I am going to share with you how to propagate clematis by layering.
In a previous post I shared how I Propagate Roses by Air Layering and it now has become my favorite way of rooting roses. To propagate clematis by layering you use the same principle but it is done a little differently.
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What you need to propagate clematis by layering:
Toothpick (I used a pine needle)
Garden pin or small stone
optional: potting soil & 3 to 4 inch plastic pots
Start with your clematis vine. This is the one I renovated this past Fall and shared. I will link to that at the bottom of this post for you to read. The renovation worked well and now I can use some of the fresh Spring growth at the base of my clematis vine to propagate more. I can actually start many new clematis along one vine.
The video at the end of this post shows best what I am working with. The photo shots basically show the new spring growth.
Clematis are ‘internodal’ rooters, meaning they root in between leaf nodes not at them. Many plants actually root at the leaf node.
Prep for layering the clematis
To propagate clematis by layering I bury 4 inch plastic pots at the base of my clematis. The vine I am working on is long enough to lie over the nearby soil and I place pots at the sections of vine I will be propagating. I know, sounds a little confusing but the video makes it clearer.
I lay the vine I am working with on a solid surface, like a board.
Slice the clematis vine
I use a sharp knife to slice into the stem between two leaf nodes. The slice is about an inch long.
Holding my knife in the slice to keep my place, I slide a toothpick (I actually use a pine needle, didn’t have tooth picks) into the slice to keep the stem sides apart slightly. The theory is it prevents the stem from healing over before it has a chance to root.
Paint the sliced stem with rooting hormone with a small paint brush, mine is a liquid so I can just pour a bit on it.
Bury the slice of clematis vine to root
My pots are already placed into the soil around the base of the mother plants and have some moist potting soil in them. I gently press the sliced part of the stem into the soil (careful clematis can snap so easily) and cover with more potting soil.
You can use garden pins to hold the vine down under the soil or I use a stone that is hefty enough to do the job. One of the pots below has the stone and they other is waiting for its stone.
This next one gets a clump of cement.
Now here is the tricky part, waiting and making sure the little pots don’t dry out.(it can take all summer for them to root, some varieties root faster than others) Being buried slightly in the ground helps them to retain moisture and I will mulch over them somewhat until the annuals I plant at the base of my clematis (mother plant) get large enough to shade little pots.
How do you know when your starts have rooted? You will see vigorous growth shooting up. Good strong growth. At that point you can double check that there are roots by gently digging out the soil around the stem area you layered and checking to see.
Here is the video I did of this post hoping it would help you to see what I did in better detail.
Relocate when Rooted
Pull the little pots with the rooted clematis out of the ground, if you check and they have a nice root then sever them from the mother plant. and you can now pot them up into larger containers or plant them in their new permanent home.
That sweet friends is how you propagate clematis by layering.