A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 67 – Sweet Autumn Clematis


“Sweet Autumn Clematis” – Summer/Fall 2013 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Clematis terniflora… Or the name I prefer… “Sweet Autumn Clematis”… I mean really… Who in the hell wants to call a plant “Clematis terniflora”… When it has such a beautifully descriptive common name… Sweet Autumn Clematis… In my mind… Sweet Autumn Clematis is a plant of seasonal memories… It is a plant of poetry… It is a plant of Autumn

In most places this plant is now considered an invasive weed… I have seen the base of this vine reach a massive size… And it doesn’t take long to grow to that size… 4 or 5 years of uncontrolled growth will produce a huge amount of plant material… SAC is a profuse bloomer… Each of those blossoms produces 4 to 6 feather-topped seeds… These seeds are designed to travel… I often find SAC growing up in the branches of trees… It is not uncommon to find thousands of seedlings directly downwind (East) of the tree…

Sweet Autumn Clematis has a wicked taproot… When it is young it is easy to pull… But after it has put on a set of mature leaves it becomes difficult… If you break the plant off above the crown it will rapidly re-sprout a bunch of new shoots… The only way to kill it at this point is sever the crown from the roots… The easiest way to do this is with a garden spade pushed into the earth at a 45 degree angle… Sever all the roots… Remove and dispose of the crown…

Although I am aware of the invasive tendencies of this plant… I still grow it… In fact… It is one of my favorite late bloomers… I have SAC strategically planted around the house (I live in an apartment but my landlady lets me garden the hell out of it)… In the autumn months when SAC is in bloom the AC unit comes down and the windows are open… I fall asleep to the scent of Sweet Autumn Clematis on a nightly basis…

Control and maintenance is surprisingly simple… It is important to remember that SAC is not your typical Clematis… It can handle serious abuse… I brutally prune mine all through the spring and summer… I like them to grow in very specific locations… Anytime a new runner starts to grow I cut it off… The result is a long stem that leads to a pom-pom of green-leaves… I will prune it up until the end of summer… Because of my pruning efforts I also get a more concentrated area of blooms… This summer I plan on actually bringing the front yard clematis up to my window when it begins to bloom… I have been planning for this for 4 years… I am 90% sure I trained enough stem to get it up there…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clematis_terniflora

These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… You can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com

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2 thoughts on “A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 67 – Sweet Autumn Clematis

  1. gaydtla says:

    Wow! That is one beautiful flower!


  2. 6bysixty says:

    I absolutely adore the scent of this plant. I have it growing near the steps to my door and I get to smell it whenever I go in or out in the fall. I’m using it as a ground cover in my island bed area and also letting it climb on a wire sculpture that I have there. The only problem is that the sculpture does not have a heavy enough base and it keeps getting blown over. I’m hoping to find a solution for that this season.


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