Content Detail

Virgin’s bower is a native species of clematis that produces masses of small, white, fragrant flowers in late summer. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

  • Family (English) Buttercup
  • Family (botanic) Ranunculaceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • 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 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Wet sites
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and Method of Climbing:

Virgin’s bower can grow 10 to 15 feet in a season. It is a twining vine. Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support. This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires, or chain-link fences.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Virgin’s bower is common throughout much of the Eastern United States. C-Value: 4

Leaf description: 

The opposite, compound leaves have three leaflets. Each leaflet is irregularly lobed or toothed. It has a poor, yellow-green color in fall.

Flower description: 

The vine has small, white flowers in late summer and early autumn, each about 3/4 inches in diameter. The flowers are fragrant and showy. An individual plant may have all male flowers, all female flowers, or perfect flowers (containing both male and female parts).

Fruit description: 

Female flowers will produce small dry fruit (achenes) attached to feathery plumes, which can be very showy.

Plant care:

Virgin’s bower prefers partial shade, but it can tolerate full sun. It does best in moist, well-drained soils but has some tolerance of both dry and wet sites once established.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

This vine has no serious problems, but powdery mildew and leaf spots can affect it.


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