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How to Grow Clematis from Cuttings (Easy Step By Step Guide)

by Idris Ya'u
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

If you’ve admired clematis vines with their stunning blooms, you might be surprised how easy it is to grow more! While you can always buy established plants, propagating clematis from cuttings is a rewarding and cost-effective way to expand your garden.

You May Also Like: How To Grow Clematis From Seed (Easy Step By Step Guide)

Understanding Clematis Cuttings

Depending on their age, these cuttings are given different names:

  1. Softwoods in the spring.
  2. Semi-ripe in the summer.
  3. Ripe in the late summer.
  4. Hardwoods in the autumn.
  • When to Take Cuttings: Softwood cuttings taken in late spring/early summer are ideal, but some clematis varieties can also be propagated from other cuttings. Research the best methods for your specific type of clematis.
  • Choosing Your Cutting: Look for healthy, non-flowering stems that are starting to firm up (slightly less green). Avoid overly thin or thick stems.
  • Avoid Invasive Species: In many growing zones, Sweet Autumn is a nuisance.
close up shot of clematis flower, how to grow clematis from cuttings.

How to Propagate Clematis from Cuttings

  1. Gather Your Supplies:
    • Sharp, clean pruning shears or knife.
    • Rooting hormone (optional but helpful).
    • Small pots or a seed tray.
    • Well-draining potting mix (a mix of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite works well).
    • Plastic bag or humidity dome (optional).
  2. Take Your Cuttings:
    • Cut stems just below a leaf node (where the leaves grow from the stem).
    • Each cutting should be about 4-6 inches long with 2-3 leaf nodes.
    • Remove the lower leaves, leaving a pair at the top.
    • Optionally, dip the cut end in rooting hormone.
  3. Prepare the Pots:
    • Fill pots with potting mix and moisten it thoroughly.
    • Make a small hole in the soil for each cutting.
  4. Plant Your Cuttings:
    • Insert cuttings gently, ensuring a leaf node is buried.
    • Firm the soil around the cuttings.
  5. Provide the Right Environment:
    • Place pots in bright, indirect sunlight. A warm windowsill is ideal, but avoid direct scorching sun.
    • Maintain high humidity: mist cuttings regularly, or use a plastic bag as a mini-greenhouse.
    • Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  6. Patience is Key:
    • Rooting can take 4-8 weeks. Gently tug on a cutting to check for resistance, which indicates roots.
clematis cuttings laid out on a table.

Post-Rooting Care for Your New Clematis

  • Acclimation: Once rooted, gradually expose cuttings to less humidity.
  • Potting Up: Transplant into larger pots when roots are well-established.
  • Pinching: Pinch back the tips of young plants to encourage branching.
  • Planting Out: Plant your new clematis in a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil. Provide support for climbing.

Pro Tip: After the stems have fully rooted, trim them back to 12 inches (31 cm) in height. This will make it easier for the plant to branch out and climb up a trellis or fence. Place the crown a few inches (5 cm) below the soil level to ensure that it is well prepared if it is accidentally cut back or mowed over.

clematis cuttings planted in soil trays.

Additional Tips from Seasoned Gardeners

  • I find that some clematis cultivars root more readily than others. Start with a few cuttings to experiment!
  • Clematis love their roots cool. Mulch around the plants in summer.
  • Regular fertilizing will give you lush vines and beautiful blooms.

It’ll never be 100% successful, just like any other propagation technique. I normally produce 10 to 12 pieces, which come from three lengthy cuttings and end up with three to six plants to plant in the garden. Some will live for years, just as we want, but others will die off or succumb to the dreaded clematis wilt.

Have more questions? Leave a comment below!


  1. Assessment of propagation efficiency of Clematis L. green cuttings in Western Siberia, IOP SCIENCE
  2. Breeding system and pollination ecology of a potentially invasive alien Clematis vitalba L. in Ireland, OXFORD ACADEMIC JOUNRAL OF PLANT PHYSIOLOGY
  3. Improvement of germination of Clematis integrifolia L. seeds with seed pre-treatments, REARCHGATE

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