Clematis terniflora: Clematis vine

Family: Ranunculaceae
Common name: Clematis vine, Japanese clematis, Japanese virgin’s-bower, Sweet autumn clematis, Sweet autumn virginsbower, Bridal bouquet

Clematis vines are vigorous climbers that can scramble up trellises, fences, pergolas, supporting structures or surrounding vegetation, blooming profusely almost through the year. The flowers are creamish-white in color, and grows in large bunches covering the entire plant, and hence they are also called Bridal bouquet plants.

Mature plants have thick, brown, woody stems, which are green and tender towards the tip of the plant. Clematis vines can grow to a height of over 10 meters provided they have enough support. Leaves are compound, having 3, 5 or 7 leaflets, and are bright green with entire margins.

The flowers have a delicate, lovely fragrance that can fill your garden, attracting birds, bees and butterflies that will help pollinate other plants too. These flowers have 4 thin petals, prominent stamens and style. Clematis vines also produce fruits that are flattened, containing plume-like hairs on the outer edge.

If there are no supporting structures, the plant will trail along the ground and cover large surfaces, with beautiful flower carpets. But the flowers look best when they are higher up from the ground. So it’s a good idea to provide support for your Clematis vines.

The plants are self-seeding, and are considered invasive since they are known for escaping cultivation in some parts of the world. It is a good idea to keep the plant away from pets and small children, since parts of the plant have mild toxicity.

It is quite easy to grow Clematis vines in gardens, provided there is good sunlight. They do not need regular watering and fertilization, though the nutritional requirements might be higher during flowering season.

They can be pruned well after flowering season to encourage bushy growth, without long scraggly stems. Clematis vines are reasonably pest-resistant, but there’s a fatal fungal infection called Clematis wilt that needs to be addressed urgently.

Propagation is through seeds or stem cuttings.

Image credits: Seena Antony