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Growing Clematis From Cuttings

Softwood cuttings are best carried out in April, May and June from the mid-sections of strongly growing vines. The tips will be too soft, and the lower parts may be too woody.

Prepare 'cutting compost' in small pots, firm down, and add a top layer of grit or coarse sand. Water with a general purpose fungicide and allow to drain.

Hygiene is paramount, so are fresh rooting powder, a clean sharp blade and a container with fungicide. Prepare the selected section of vine by cutting through it immediately above a leaf joint and again about 3-4cm below the same node.

Remove the excess foliage: all of one side (and part of the second side if there are three leaflets or large leaves). This will reduce moisture loss until the cuttings have rooted. Completely immerse the prepared cuttings in fungicide mixture, allow to drain, and then dip the base of each cutting in rooting powder. Insert into compost until the leaf joint is at grit level. Label the pot and water it gently with fungicide. Place in a well-lit area, but out of direct sunlight, and maintain a humid atmosphere by covering with polythene. (Use a propagator if you have one.) Bottom heat of 20 deg C will aid rooting but is not essential. Rooting should occur in four weeks. Check by gently pulling on a leaf - if the cutting moves, it is not rooted!

Pot up seperately when rooted, but if they are not ready by late summer (late August in the UK), delay the job until next spring. Grow the cuttings on in pots for another year before planting out.

Adapted and abridged from BCS Factsheet No.4 'Notes on propagation of clematis from seed and softwood cuttings' by Mike Brown and the late Vince Denny

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