Sweet Autumn Clematis Clematis flammula

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
sweet-scented virgin's bower


Clematis flammula, commonly known as Sweet Autumn Clematis or Virgin's Bower, is a vigorous climbing vine noted for its delicate appearance. It has dark green, shiny leaves that are typically compound, with each leaf consisting of multiple small leaflets. These leaflets are arranged opposite each other along the vine's stems, providing a dense, lush appearance. The plant is adorned with masses of small, starry white flowers. These blossoms are renowned for their sweet, almond-like fragrance, which becomes more pronounced in the evening and can fill the surrounding air with a delightful scent. Each flower is composed of four to five petal-like sepals that are narrow, spreading open to reveal prominent stamens in the center. After flowering, the plant produces feathery seed heads that are fluffy in appearance, adding an ethereal quality to the vine as they catch the light. When several Sweet Autumn Clematis plants are grown together, they can create a blanket of white blooms, transforming fences or pergolas into a cascading display of flowers. Overall, this plant has a romantic and charming character that enhances gardens with its fragrant and visually attractive blossoms.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Fragrant Virgin's Bower, Sweet-scented Clematis, European Clematis, Virginsbower, Old Man's Beard

    • Common names

      Atragene flammula, Viticella flammula, Clematis bauhini, Clematis recta var. flammula, Clematis vitalba var. flammula.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Sweet autumn clematis contains compounds that can be toxic to humans if ingested. The plant contains glycosides, which can cause symptoms such as salivation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, internal bleeding, seizures, or even organ failure. Skin contact with the sap may also cause dermatitis in some individuals. Therefore, it is important for humans to avoid ingesting any part of the plant and to handle the plant with care to prevent skin irritation.

    • To pets

      Sweet autumn clematis is also toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. If pets ingest any part of the plant, they might exhibit symptoms like drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and in more severe cases, tremors, seizures, or hepatic (liver) damage. The glycoside compounds present in the plant are the primary cause of these symptoms. Pet owners should prevent their animals from accessing and ingesting any part of the sweet autumn clematis to avoid these potentially dangerous health effects.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15 feet (4.57 meters)

    • Spread

      10 feet (3.05 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Clematis flammula, also known as Sweet Autumn Clematis, features masses of fragrant, star-shaped white flowers that enhance the beauty of gardens and landscapes.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The blooms provide a source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial pollinators, supporting biodiversity.
    • Versatile Climber: This vigorous vine can be trained on fences, walls, trellises, and pergolas, offering a variety of design possibilities.
    • Seasonal Interest: It blooms in late summer to early autumn, providing visual interest during a time when many other plants are finishing their bloom cycle.
    • Screening Plant: When grown densely, it can act as a natural screen, providing privacy or concealing unsightly areas.
    • Easy to Grow: Sweet Autumn Clematis is known for being low maintenance and easy to cultivate, suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Fast Growth: It grows quickly, which can be advantageous when looking to cover an area in a relatively short period of time.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Clematis flammula has been traditionally used to reduce inflammation.
    • Analgesic: It is known to have pain-relieving properties, which may help in alleviating pain.
    • Diuretic: The plant has been used to promote diuresis, helping in the removal of excess fluid from the body.
    • Antirheumatic: It has been used to treat rheumatic pain and conditions.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Clematis flammula, commonly known as Sweet Autumn Clematis, can be used in perfumery due to its strong, sweet fragrance, contributing to the scent profiles of various perfumes and fragrant products.
    • The plant can serve as a natural insect repellent in gardens, where its scent is believed to deter certain garden pests.
    • The vine's dense growth can be used to create privacy screens or living walls in outdoor spaces, offering a natural barrier that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
    • Sweet Autumn Clematis can be used in floral arrangements for decorative purposes, with its blooms adding elegance and fragrance to bouquets and table centerpieces.
    • The plant can play a role in erosion control, as its vigorous growth habit and extensive root system can help to stabilize soil on slopes and banks.
    • Its rapid growth and dense foliage can be utilized to cover unsightly structures, like fences or sheds, quickly transforming the look of a space into something more green and vibrant.
    • In creative arts, the vines and flowers of Sweet Autumn Clematis can be used as natural materials for crafting, such as making wreaths or other botanical art pieces.
    • In educational settings, the plant can be used to teach botany and plant biology, especially topics related to vine growth patterns and reproductive strategies.
    • Its ability to grow in a variety of conditions makes Sweet Autumn Clematis a good candidate for urban greening projects that aim to increase biodiversity and green space in cities.
    • Dried parts of the vine, like stems and seed heads, can be used in craft projects for making eco-friendly home decor items.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Sweet Autumn Clematis is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Sweet Autumn Clematis is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Ingenuity and Intellectual Beauty: Clematis flammula, also known as Sweet Autumn Clematis, often symbolizes cleverness and the beauty of the mind due to its intricate and clever ways of climbing and adaptability.
    • Artistic Inspiration: As a plant that climbs and drapes elegantly, this clematis variety is frequently associated with creativity and artistic inspiration.
    • Mental Agility: Sweet Autumn Clematis represents quick thinking and adaptability, much like how the plant twists and winds its way up various structures.
    • Spiritual Pursuits: In some cultures, clematis species are connected with the search for higher truth and spiritual ascension, its upward growth mirroring this journey.
    • Protection: Some believe that Clematis flammula can offer protection, as its dense growth can shelter and hide what is beneath.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Sweet Autumn Clematis should be watered deeply about once a week, ensuring that the soil is moist but not soggy. During dry spells or hot summer months, increase watering frequency to twice a week. Generally, apply about one gallon of water per plant during each watering session. During the cooler months or periods of rainfall, reduce the amount of water to match the plant's reduced needs. Always check the top inch of the soil for dryness before watering to avoid overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Sweet Autumn Clematis thrives in a location with full sun to partial shade. It performs best with at least six hours of sunlight per day. The ideal spot is one where the plant's base and roots are shaded, while the foliage and flowers receive ample sunlight.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Sweet Autumn Clematis prefers a temperate climate and generally does well in temperatures ranging from about 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant can survive temperatures down to around 20 degrees Fahrenheit but will need protection from harsh winter conditions. Ideal growing conditions are within that moderate temperature range where the plant can produce an abundance of flowers.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Sweet Autumn Clematis to encourage strong growth and flowering. It is best to prune in late winter or early spring before the onset of new growth. This type of clematis flowers on the current year's growth, so cutting it back to about a foot above ground level annually will stimulate robust new stems and a profusion of flowers. Additionally, removing dead or weak stems after blooming will help maintain plant health.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Sweet autumn clematis thrives in fertile, well-draining soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. For the best soil mix, use equal parts of garden soil, compost or well-rotted manure, and sharp sand or perlite to ensure drainage. Regularly checking and maintaining the soil pH within the optimal range will support healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Sweet autumn clematis usually does not require frequent repotting and can thrive in the same pot for several years. Consider repotting every 3-4 years to refresh the soil and check the root health, or when you observe that the plant has outgrown its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Sweet autumn clematis prefers moderate humidity levels but is relatively adaptable to varying conditions. Ideal humidity for this plant is around 40% to 60%. Avoid extremely high humidity environments which might promote fungal issues.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and ensure good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in a sheltered spot with sun to partial shade.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Clematis flammula, commonly known as Fragrant Virgin's Bower, begins its life cycle with seed germination, which is often slow and irregular and may be improved by stratification to break dormancy. Upon germination, seedlings develop a vigorous root system and a climbing stem that seeks out support. As it matures, the plant forms a woody base and climbs using leaf petioles that twist around structures for support. Throughout spring and summer, it produces an abundance of small, fragrant white flowers that are attractive to pollinators and often used for ornamental purposes. After pollination, flowers develop into fluffy seed heads containing achenes that can be dispersed by wind. In colder climates, Clematis flammula may die back to the ground in winter but will resprout from the roots in the spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: For the Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis flammula), the most popular method of propagation is by taking semi-hardwood cuttings during the summer. Cut a segment of stem about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long from a healthy plant, ensuring there are at least two sets of leaves. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting to expose the nodes, as this is where the roots will emerge. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder to encourage root development. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with a mix of peat and perlite or sand, ensuring that the nodes are buried. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and cover the pot with a plastic bag or place it in a propagator to maintain humidity. Rooting typically occurs in a few weeks, after which the new plants can eventually be hardened off and transplanted outdoors.