Cool Plant: August 20, 2009

Virgin's Bower Clematis
Clematis virginiana

Virgin Bower Flowers Virgin Bower Leaves

Species Native Range: Eastern 2/3 of U.S.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 3-8
Mature Size: 15-20 feet long
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Rich, well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

In the late summer, one of the last clematis vines to bloom comes into flower. This perennial twining vine produces half-inch, crisp white, four-petaled flowers over the length of the vine. This undemanding vine is an almost identical twin to the non-native, noxious weed Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis ternifolia, C. paniculata) which blooms at the same time with identical flowers. To differentiate the two, the native Virgin's Bower Clematis possesses lobed/toothed leaves whereas Sweet Autumn Clematis has smooth edges.

Virgin's Bower Clematis grows quickly to cover an arbor, trellis, mailbox or fence and since it blooms on new growth, can be trimmed as needed in the winter to a desired size. Flowering occurs in August after which "fuzzy" seed heads will appear lengthening the season of interest up until first frost.

Plant VB Clematis in full sun to light shade in moist to average soil that is well-drained. This vine can be used in any style of garden from formal to cottage. One of the more interesting uses is to mix it on the same structure as climbing roses or even sprawling through a hedge or large shrub.

Good companion plants include daylilies, roses, obedient plant, black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, Autumn Joy sedum and other late-summer flowering plants.


This is a specialty plant more easily found at nurseries that carry a broad range of native plants. Check the web site of the Georgia Native Plant Society for a list of suitable nurseries. It's also easy to propagate this plant from seed if you should wish to harvest them from any wild plants.

GNPS Nursery List

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Images & Drawings Copyrighted © 2009 by Theresa Schrum - All rights reserved