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How To Grow Clematis From Seed (Easy Step By Step Guide)

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

Discover the joy and satisfaction of growing your own clematis plants from seed. These “queens of the climbers,” have been charming gardeners for centuries. Diving into the world of clematis offers you a chance to experiment with new and unusual hybrids, bringing diversity and beauty to your garden.

Read Also: Do Clematis Like Coffee Grounds? The Truth for Luscious Blooms

Understanding Clematis Seeds

When you start clematis seeds, especially hybrids, expect a delightful surprise. Each seedling will be unique, presenting a tapestry of sizes, shapes, and color tones.

This genetic lottery means your garden can become a showcase of diversity. However, species plant seeds tend to produce offspring closely resembling the parent, offering a level of predictability.


The Charm of Clematis Seed Heads

Clematis seed heads are a marvel of nature’s design, varying significantly across cultivars and maturation stage.

When completely mature, these seed heads have swirls of many feathery seed pods with connected tails and are delicate and fluffy in appearance.

Longtails will emerge past this cottony ball, indicating that the seed is viable. When the seeds and feathery tails have fully developed, they split from the seed head and are scattered in the breeze to sprout in new locations.

This dispersal method paints a vivid picture of nature’s ingenuity.

Seed Pod and Seed Characteristics

Clematis seed pods are made up of the achene, or seed, of the plant. The seed pod will almost always have a feathery tail attached to it. There are, however, certain clematis cultivars that do not have a tail.

Not all of the seed heads’ prospective seeds will germinate. Some are simply duds that haven’t been fertilized, but they still have fluffy tails. They’re usually smaller and lighter-colored than viable seeds.

Clematis seeds that are developed and viable will be full and brown. The viable seeds have longer tails, and their seed pods are firmer and deeper in color than the duds or non-fertilized seeds.

Read also: How to Grow Clematis from Cuttings Step By Step

How Do You Harvest Clematis Seeds?

The clematis seed pods readily split from the seed heads when completely grown, with just a gentle touch or moderate wind.

It’s critical to harvest Clematis when the seeds are completely developed, but it’s also critical to capture them before they blow away.

I cover the seed heads with organza bags while they’re maturing to keep the seeds from escaping before harvest. If the seedpods mature before I get to them, they will break away from the seed head at maturity and fall into the bag. Easy!


The Seed Prep: Patience is the Name of the Game

Clematis seeds won’t sprout overnight. To boost your chances, consider these methods:

  • The Cold Treatment (Stratification): Mimicking winter conditions tricks the seeds into thinking it’s time to wake up. Mix moistened peat moss or sand with the seeds, put them in a sealed bag, and refrigerate for a few months.
  • Nick and Soak: Gently nicking the seed coat can help with water uptake. An overnight soak in lukewarm water before planting is beneficial.

Planting Time!

  1. Choose Your Vessel: Seed trays or individual pots work wonders.
  2. Mix It Up: Use well-draining seed-starting mix.
  3. Placement: Plant seeds about a quarter-inch deep and provide gentle bottom heat if possible.
  4. Keep ’em Cozy: Mist the soil, keeping it moist but not waterlogged. A plastic covering can help retain moisture.

The Waiting (and Watching) Game

Germination can take weeks, even months – don’t despair! Just keep the soil lightly moist and those seed babies in a bright, indirect light location.

The Seedlings Emerge: Time for TLC

  • Airflow Boost: Once they sprout, remove any coverings to prevent damping off (a fungal disease).
  • Transplant Time: When seedlings have true leaves, gently move them to individual pots.
  • Hardening Off: Before their grand garden debut, gradually acclimate your young clematis to outdoor conditions.

Additional Tips for Thriving Clematis

  • Location, Location: Most varieties adore full sun (at least 6 hours a day).
  • Support System: Remember, these are climbers! Provide a trellis, fence, or other structure.
  • Feeding Frenzy: Clematis are hungry. Feed them with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
  • Pruning Pointers: Pruning groups vary – research your specific variety for guidance.

Clematis Varieties to Try

From dainty bells to enormous blooms, there’s a clematis for everyone! Here are a few to pique your interest:

  • Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’: A classic with large, pink blooms and a creamy stripe.
  • Clematis ‘The President’: Intense, velvety purple flowers.
  • Clematis alpina: Perfect for cooler climates, with delicate bell-shaped blooms.
  • Clematis tangutica: A flurry of sunny yellow lantern-shaped flowers.

Is it Hard to Grow Clematis Seeds?

Germination of clematis seeds can be a test of patience, with timespans ranging from a few weeks to several years, depending on the variety. Strategies like cold stratification in the fridge can encourage germination, highlighting the importance of understanding the specific needs of your clematis seeds.

Clematis Tangutica has a history of easily self-seeding. I planted some clematis seeds that germinated so effortlessly I knew they were almost certainly Clematis Tangutica. Within three weeks, they had germinated successfully.

If you’re having trouble germinating clematis seeds, put some in a baggie with wet vermiculite and keep it in a refrigerator for thirty days. After this period of stratification, the seeds can be planted.

Conclusion: How To Grow Clematis From Seed

Growing clematis from seed is less common than propagation via cuttings but offers:

  • Affordability: Seeds are generally budget-friendly.
  • Novelty: You might cultivate varieties not readily available as plants.

While they require a little extra patience, their spectacular blooms make it so worthwhile. Embrace the challenge, nurture those seedlings, and soon your garden will be ablaze with clematis magic.

Got any clematis growing tips or favorite varieties? Share them in the comments – let’s create a community of clematis enthusiasts!

More Resources

  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
  4. Contrasting growth, physiological and gene expression responses of Clematis crassifolia and Clematis cadmia to different irradiance conditions, Nature

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