Although clematis includes a large number of species, most clematis are deciduous woody vines that produce masses of attractive blooms. Clematis blooms, available in a range sizes and colors, are shaped as small clusters, bell-shaped blooms or open, flat flowers, depending on the variety. A new clematis can be propagated by taking cuttings from a mature clematis plant. Take cuttings in early summer.
Each cutting should be 4 to 6 inches in length; take the cutting early in the day when the clematis is hydrated. Make cuttings using a sharp knife or garden pruners that have been sanitized by wiping the blade with a mixture of one part household bleach to nine parts water. Keep the cuttings moist until planting time.
Pinch the lower leaves from the bottom half of each clematis cutting. Leave the upper leaves intact, but cut large leaves in half to conserve moisture and save planting space. Each cut end is dipped in a rooting hormone to facilitate rooting.
Plant the clematis cuttings to about half of their length in a container filled with a mixture of half sand and half peat moss. The container, which can be a pot or a nursery tray, must have bottom drainage. Lightly moisten the potting mixture before the cuttings are planted. Firm the potting mixture gently around the cutting.
Cover the container with a piece of clear plastic. The plastic provides a greenhouse environment, keeping the clematis cuttings warm and moist. If the plastic is firmly secured around the container, the potting mixture will remain damp for several weeks. If the soil becomes dry, it must be watered immediately, but should never be soggy. The container is placed outdoors in a sheltered location where the cuttings are exposed to moderate sunlight. Direct sunlight will scorch the cuttings inside the plastic.
Clematis cuttings usually root in four to five weeks, depending on the variety. If the cuttings have developed healthy roots by early August, the clematis can safely be planted in its permanent location. If the plant hasn’t rooted by early August, the cuttings should be protected from freezing and harsh wind during the winter before being planted after danger of frost has passed in spring.