Seduced By Sweet Autumn Clematis

September 4, 2016 | By | Comments (7)

Photo: Steve Bender

Sweet autumn clematis is a seductress. You know this vine can engulf shrubs to the point of killing them and if allowed to seed will populate the neighborhood with equally rampant babies. You promised yourself you will not plant her, but then the sweet perfume from her clouds of starlike blossoms reaches your nostrils and you’re doomed. You must have her. And she has you.

Native to Japan, sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) is the easiest clematis to grow. Normally, that would be a good thing. But too much of a good thing is not. And too much is what this vine does. It can easily grow 15 to 20 feet up any support it has in a single year, and it grows so thickly that soon you don’t see the support. I had one in a previous garden that cloaked the trunk of a huge loblolly pine, so no harm done there. But should a seedling sprout in the middle of a shrub or hedge, pretty soon you will no longer see the shrub or hedge. So beware.

The fluffy seeds are pretty, but they ride on the wind and spread everywhere. Photo:

Sweet autumn clematis is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9. It likes full sun or light shade, tolerates drought, and has no pests that I can find. Even deer won’t eat it. Give it a good haircut in early spring to maintain some semblance of control. In late summer and fall, you’ll know it’s blooming even with your eyes closed. Inhale and you’ll be seduced again into granting it yet another year of life.

You are hers.




  1. K Sm

    It does have a pest – Japanese beetles! they ate mine down to the stems this year. and that’s with traps around. so, no blooms this year 😦

    September 29, 2016 at 11:52 am
  2. Pam Nelson

    Mine is 4 years old and hasn’t bloomed for the last 2 yrs. We cut it back in the Spring. I wish it would bloom, again.

    September 29, 2016 at 11:10 am
  3. Sue Kightlinger

    My sweet Autumn clematis is just finishing blooming–It was beautiful this year-I suppose thanks to all the rain we have had. Love mine—

    September 15, 2016 at 7:23 am
  4. Christabelle

    This stuff is worse than Queen Anne’s lace! I thought I’d gotten rid of it all, but no! It’s now all over my yard along with Japanese honeysuckle. But the smell is intoxicating. And the germination rate of the seed is 99.5%.

    September 11, 2016 at 1:37 pm
  5. Jo Sweatt

    Looks very similar to Confederate Jasmine. What I have has been blooming since midsummer, so not sure which it is.

    September 8, 2016 at 12:45 pm
  6. Kathy in NC

    This is all so true. I have one on the end of my porch, where it will always have a home because it covers a downspout. I have seventeen of its babies throughout my azaleas that are also near the porch. We are constantly clipping the babies and more show up! The mother plant is blooming right now and it’s so beautiful! We will just have to deal with those babies! The husband think it would probably cover the house if we let it go. We do cut the main plant down to the ground every year after the first frost, right or wrong.

    September 6, 2016 at 10:03 am
  7. Susan Flynn

    Since you like white this might be something you could use.

    Sent from my iPad


    September 4, 2016 at 8:57 am

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