Clematis virginiana

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: woodbine
Type: Vine
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to October
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. This species will thrive and bloom in considerable shade. Blooms on current year’s growth. May be pruned back hard (to 8-12” from the ground) to strong leaf buds in fall after flowering or in late winter to early spring. Needs adequate supply of nutrients during the growing season to support rush of growth. Can spread aggressively by self-seeding and suckering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Woodbine is a fragrant, fall-blooming clematis that is somewhat similar in flower to sweet autumn clematis (C. terniflora), but lacks the tough, leathery leaves of the latter. It is native to eastern North America, including Missouri where it typically occurs in moist low woodland areas and thickets bordering streams, ponds and fence rows (Steyermark). It is a vigorous, deciduous, twining vine with a rampant growth habit. If given support, it will climb rapidly with the aid of tendrilous leaf petioles to 20’. Without support, it will sprawl along the ground as a dense, tangled ground cover. Features sweetly aromatic, 1.25” diameter, pure white flowers (each with 4 narrow petal-like sepals) in axillary panicles from late August to October in a profuse bloom which typically covers the foliage. This is a dioecious species, with the pistillate flowers giving way to attractive, plume-like seed heads (hence the sometimes common name of old man’s beard). Compound green leaves, each with 3-5 oval to elliptic sharply-toothed leaflets.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Can be somewhat aggressive spreader.

Garden Uses

Perhaps best in woodland and native plant areas where it can be allowed to scramble along the ground, over shrubs and along fences. Also may be grown on trellises, arbors, or posts. If grown through large shrubs, growth should be monitored to insure that the shrub is not overwhelmed.