Nothing is lovelier than a vine-covered wall or fence and, if the vine is a flowering one, then all the better. Clematis, with their large, beautiful blossoms, can be the answer to every flower lover’s dream. And the more vines, the stronger the statement. But they are expensive to buy, so what if you could increase them easily and inexpensively?
You can do this by increasing your vines through layering.
Layering is a simple matter of pinning the nodes of a young, flexible vine stem to some nicely prepared earth and letting the vine take root. When it is well established, cut it away from its mother and you have a lovely new plant. This method works well for plants producing vine-like growth such as wisteria (try the new hardy type), clematis and grapes. Ivies and Virginia creeper are also easy to propagate using this method.
Loosen the earth along the area where you wish to encourage new growth. Add a little peat moss if the soil is hard or especially sandy or clay based. Make a little hole about three or four inches deep.
Take a healthy, young tendril and peg it to the ground along a wall or a fence. Use anything handy to do the pegging, even a heavy stone, as long as it keeps a node of the vine securely fastened to the ground. The vine should be bent or nicked at the point of pegging to encourage growth of roots.
Eventually, the vine will send down roots at this point. You can assist this by adding a little rooting hormone to the nodes that will contact the earth.
Keep the soil moist at the contact points.
When you can see that the nodes have taken root, you can cut the new plantling away from the mother plant. Then, it is just a matter of nurturing your new vine and giving it support to climb upwards.
You can increase the vine even more by pegging several of the nodes at locations along the stem, which is called serpentine layering. Make sure there is at least one leaf above the ground between each pegging.
You can also increase clematis by taking cuttings of woody vines and rooting them in wet sand with a bit of rooting compound. Cuttings taken in spring when the vine is actively growing will increase you success rate. It takes several weeks for the cutting to take root.
Clematis like at least six hours of sunlight and cool feet. You can plant a ground cover to keep soil cooler or even add some sort of barrier to sunlight at root level.
The vine also needs a trellis or some other support for its leaf stems to curl around. If using a trellis, you can help the plant grow better by adding some vertical stringing to give it even more opportunities to grow upwards.
An eastern exposure, allowing the early morning sun to pour down on the plant, is favoured.