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The Plant Guide

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Sweet autumn clematis

Clematis terniflora

KLEM-ah-tiss ter-nih-FLOOR-ah

This deciduous, late-flowering twining vine with deep green leaves and profuse, fragrant white flowers is easy to grow and will thrive and bloom in shade. Star-shaped blossoms are 1 inch across, appearing from late August to October and maturing to attractive, plume-like seed heads. The shiny green foliage is leathery.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsCan self-seed invasively and has escaped cultivation and naturalized in the East and Midwest US. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground, covering up to 10 feet and choking most weeds.

CarePrefers full sun and average, well-drained but moist soil. Extremely rampant growth habit that may need hard pruning in fall or early spring.

PropagationRoot softwood cuttings in spring, semi-ripe cuttings in early summer.

ProblemsWilt, powdery mildew, rust, fungal spots, and stem cankers are common. Scale insects, whiteflies, earwigs, aphids can occur.

  • Genus : Clematis
  • Zones : 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 10 feet
  • Bloom Time : Early Fall, Fall, Late Summer, Summer
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers, Self Seeds, Showy Seed Heads
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Uses : Ground Covers
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Plant Type : Vines
  • Flower Color : White
View Comments


  1. user-7007198 09/12/2014

    can I put the sweet autumn clematis in a big pot or should it be in the ground. how big do the roots get?

    1. bilqees_hussain 06/01/2015

      My clematis terniflora is growing fine in a large terracotta pot since 10 years. it needs heavy pruning in early spring. It shows on problem with the roots and are under control in the same pot since that time. I live in zone 12 .

      1. VoiceInDetroit 11/21/2016

        Yeah they kinda grow like a Jasmine in a pot, except Jasmines smell all the time. Sweet Autmumn Clematis only smell iin .... well ... Autumn.

  2. snorkelgarden 03/11/2016

    the paragraph on top says it will bloom and thrive in the shade, but the overview says full sun only. So, what is it?

    1. rosehascall 10/11/2016

      My covers a 12 ft trellis and is almost totally in the shade.

    2. VoiceInDetroit 11/21/2016

      Theyre invasive but somehow I don't care. They smell like Jesus farted. Mine are shaded by a giant walnut tree next door and flower like crazy.

  3. silvi_jano 11/14/2017

    I've got a few clematis terniflora seeds, when is the best time to plant them on the ground?

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