Content Detail

Sweet autumn clematis is a vine that produces an abundance of small, fragrant white flowers in late summer and early autumn. It should be used with care as it is considered invasive in some locations. Also known as Clematis maximowicziana.

  • Family (English) Buttercup
  • Family (botanic) Ranunculaceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Wet sites
  • Season of interest late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and method of climbing:

Sweet autumn clematis can grow 10 to 20 feet long and is a twining vine on which both the stems and the leafstalks twine. Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support such as trellises, arbors, wires, or chain-link fences.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Japan, China, and Korea.

Bark color and texture:

Mature bark is a dark gray-brown with blocky ridges. Young trees develop a flaky, peeling bark that reveals an orange inner bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The opposite, compound leaves have three to five leaflets and each leaflet has a smooth, entire margin. Poor, yellow-green color shows in fall.

Flower description:

Small, white fragrant, showy flowers in late summer and early autumn, each about 1 inch in diameter. An individual plant generally has perfect flowers (containing both male and female parts), but separate male and female flowers may occur.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Small dry fruit (achenes) attached to feathery plumes which can be very showy.

Plant care:

Sweet autumn clematis grows in full sun or part shade and is actually quite tolerant of more dense shade. It does best in moist, well-drained soils. Flowering occurs on new wood, so plants can be pruned back severely in winter or early spring.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

No serious problems. The plant can be an aggressive grower and can become weedy.


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