Growing Clematis Babies

I only lost one perennial in the garden this spring, due to freezing temperatures. I had six clematis vines that were trailing up their trellises when the cold pinched them. Five came back. One did not. Losing one plant out of hundreds isn’t bad. And yet, there’s a gap where that clematis should be. I considered purchasing a new plant, but the perfectionist in me was concerned I couldn’t match the color of the other blooming vines in that area. And besides, I could use four or five new clematis plants.

I decided to try propagating clematis plants for the first time.

Growing Clematis Babies

There are several methods for creating new plants from existing ones. I decided to go with the easiest…growing new plants from cuttings in water. And I had the perfect container for rooting the vines in.

Growing Clematis Babies

My daughter Elissa passed on these unique bud vases to me, several years ago. I confess, I have a difficult time cutting flowers to use for display. I’d rather have them growing in my garden than dying in a vase, so I rarely gather flowers. However, these little vases would make perfect incubators.

Growing Clematis Babies

These are the four beauties that I took cuttings from. Here are the easy steps I followed.

1) Prepare containers for rootings. They need to be tall enough to hold the cuttings. Dissolve aspirin in water and fill containers. The aspirin helps the cuttings to root. I used one low dosage aspirin in about 6 cups of water.

2) Cut a 6-8 inch section of vine from the top of the plant. Remove any leaves that would be below the water line, as they will rot. Clip off any blooms or buds so that energy is directed to rooting and not producing flowers.

3) Place cuttings, in water, in a bright window without direct sunlight. A north facing window is ideal. Use a grow light if a suitable window isn’t available. Change water daily, to prevent stagnation, and add a low dosage aspirin with each water change.

4) Once roots are 1/4-1 inch long, begin adding a tablespoon of potting soil a day to the container, so roots adapt to soil. When the container has mostly soil in it, transplant vine to a pot. Acclimate the vine to the outdoors by increasing the amount of sunshine it receives each day. When plant tolerates being outdoors for 24 hours, it’s ready to transplant into the ground.

Growing Clematis Babies

I love creating, whether it’s a drawing or a recipe or a new plant. And I enjoy using what I already have on hand. It’s also important to be adaptable. Cleaning the containers with a bottle brush, I accidentally broke the bottom of one of the tubes. Greg used a silicone sealer to attempt fixing it. I’m letting it cure for 24 hours. If it seals and holds water, great. I don’t mind the wabi sabi look…beauty in imperfection. And if it doesn’t hold water, that’s okay too. I still have five tubes.

It was as I was washing the containers that I recognized the irony of their shape, and laughed. These are large glass test tubes. I’m growing baby clematis vines…in test tubes. I have test tube babies. I couldn’t have a more appropriate container!

Growing Clematis Babies

18 Replies to “Growing Clematis Babies”

    1. Thank you for your comments. My Clematis babies are doing well. They have tiny roots forming. I used a low dosage aspirin, one in 6 cups of water.

  1. How long do the plants normally take to develop the 1/4-1” roots?

    It is days, weeks..?

    Thank you so much for the post!! Should save me a bundle 😃

    1. Mine took about a week to show roots. They are very fine, white roots, growing from the joints where leaves were, and easiest to see when they are submerged. My starts are to the point where I will begin adding dirt to the water, preparing them for the transplanting process. Thanks for reading and for your comment! 😊

  2. Great instructions and just what I was looking for. Adding a tablespoon of soil a day will quickly fill up the tiny tube. How many days before planting in a pot and is it difficult to get the baby out of the tube without injury?

    1. My Clematis starts have roots about 1/4” long. I’m about to start adding dirt. And you are right! It won’t take long to fill the tubes with dirt. The idea is to acclimate the new roots to soil instead of just water. As I move through the transplanting process I’ll update the post!

  3. lol no wonder , I tried to use the flower seeds of the clematis , alas it did now work .I have 4 types of clematis .This is a good way to try .Thank you so much it sounds so easy I think it is the way you explain it . Again you have made my day

  4. Hiya what time of the year would be best to do this- spring, summer or autumn? I’m so looking forward to giving this a go as I’ve tried to get cuttings before and failed!!

    1. From my own experience, spring is best. Take cuttings either right before flowering or right after. Best wishes!

  5. I have had good luck propagating many of my vine plants just laying a newer growth portion of vine on bare soil or soil mulched in older wood mulch that has broken down a bit (still attached to main plant) you can hold it down with a rock in between the leaf areas. The roots will develop as the do in water but automatically go down into the soil and start growing up new vines up from same area. I snip in between leaf area of original vine and gently dig up the new plants to transplant. You will have best luck if soil is in good condition and watered normally. I usually get several plants depending on the spacing of leaves. This method also works on bushes as well, just weight down a tender branch and watch it grow.

  6. Very interesting… I´ll try this next summer if I have any clematis left in my garden. It is very difficult to grow clematis here in Finnland because of the cold.

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