The popular clematis plant produces showy, open-faced flowers that range in size from saucers to dinner plates. Planted for its bright blossoms and vertical accents, many types of clematis bloom nonstop from early summer to late fall. Some types produce two flushes of flowers: in the early spring and again in the late summer. While the clematis is considered an easy-to-grow plant, some types of can be challenging to propagate. Fortunately, there are several ways to establish this colorful vine.
Growing clematis plants from seed is a simple, though somewhat lengthy, procedure, with some seeds taking well over a year to sprout. The germination process can be expedited by cold-stratifying the seeds before planting. Wrap the seeds in damp tissue, then seal them in a plastic food storage bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the seeds to chill for several months prior to planting. The cold will help break the seed’s dormant cycle and encourage germination.
Some kinds of clematis send up side shoots from the main stem in the early spring, creating clusters of new growth near the base of the plant. These bushy vines can be propagated by division. To create a new plant, dig up the cluster and gently pull it apart, making certain each piece has a shoot and roots, and replant the divisions.
Many types of clematis are planted for their vertical, climbing growth habit. These can be propagated by taking cuttings from a vigorous, well-established vine. Simply snip a 6-inch section from the tip of a healthy, growing stem. Strip off the leaves from the bottom 2 inches of the stem, then place the cut end in loose, damp soil. Cover the cutting with a sheet of plastic cling film to conserve moisture while the roots form. When the stems show clear signs of growth, transplant them to the garden.
New clematis plants can also be generated by layering. This simple method of propagation is usually successful because it places a minimum amount of stress on the plant. To increase the quantity of clematis vines in a given location, pull a low-growing stem to the ground. Bury a portion of the stem beneath 2 to 3 inches of soil, leaving at least 6 inches of vegetation above ground. Once the buried stem takes root, dig it up and move it to the desired planting site.