Twelve years ago, when we moved to our present home, (all of 7 miles from our other place) this beautiful white flowering plant was given to me by a dear friend whom we affectionately call our “house angel.” It’s a long story — but in a nutshell — she found our current home for us.
I have three plants and suppose them to be — since our friend called them Autumn Clematis — Clematis Panticulata. (Also said to be called Clematis terniflora by one of the catalog companies.)
My largest plant is in the garden border (shown below) and is not yet in full bloom.
In late winter I cut the vines back to about 12 inches.(It blooms on new growth.) I also prune them a couple of times in May and/or June, because I like to keep them shorter than they would grow if unsupervised. (15 to 30 feet I can’t handle.)
The one in my garden border is about 5 feet tall and a perfect contained drape because of my pruning. In my front flower border I have a shorter 3 foot support for the vine. It doesn’t need to be as tall as the one in the back, but I let it drape and run along the ground in front for another 3 feet for added effect. (Again – I prune it during May or June.)
Side view (above) of clematis paniculata in my front border. View from the front is shown below.
All Clematis like cool roots and their foliage in the sun. Mine get a little straw on them but it’s not thick at all. The foliage is lush from the time the leaves appear and it grows so quickly I think the vines must act as a mulch and keep the roots cool.
This plant always is spectacular when it blooms in August and September and I never give it any special care. Even the two severe droughts in the 12 years we’ve lived at this location did not seem to bother them in any way. The ones in the garden border live in richer soil than the one in the front border, but all perform the same. The only time I pay attention to them is when I have to cut them and that takes a couple of chops with the hedge clippers and I’m done.
Picture below: White blooms and buds of Autumn Clematis paired with yellow flowers, summer poinsettia and tomato foliage. Next year I want to pair one of them with red clematis that blooms at the same time.
As with all Clematis, all parts of the plants are poisonous if ingested. If I had horses I would not want to use it on a fence where they could possibly ingest it. Also, some experience a skin rash after handling the plant. (Wear gloves.)
Since it’s always been so well behaved for me, I was surprised to read that some folks say it will self seed and become invasive. Makes me wonder if they are talking about another species — or if I have the wrong species name for mine. I’ve never had a problem, but if I did the answer to that would be to cut it back to 12 inches after bloom, thus not allowing it to seed. The beauty of this plant is certainly worth 5 minutes of extra time to keep it in check.
Another thing I enjoy about this vine is the nectar it provides for butterflies and bees. It’s always enjoyable looking at the array of bees and butterflies this plant attracts. A wonderful sight when it is a hum with all the nectar sippers and collectors.
Clematis Paniculata (Sweet Autumn Clematis) is worth your consideration. Not only is its showy white bloom spectacular, but it will add structure and interest to any border or garden.
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