How to Care for a Sweet Autumn Clematis


Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) is a hardy, vigorous clematis that can reach heights of 30 feet at maturity. In early autumn, sweet autumn clematis will burst out in a spectacular mass of small, creamy white, star-shaped blooms. The sweet-smelling blooms will last until October.The bright green vines may be trained to grow up a trellis, or they may be allowed to sprawl as ground cover. Sweet autumn clematis, which will grow hale and hearty even when neglected, is easier to grow than most clematis varieties.



    1. Plant sweet autumn clematis in a sunny spot where the soil drains well. Spade the soil to a depth of 18 to 24 inches, then blend in 4 to 5 inches of compost or rotted manure.
    2. Dig a hole that will allow plenty of room for the roots. The hole should be about triple the width of the plant’s root ball. Plant sweet autumn clematis in the hole with the crown of the plant about 2 inches below the surface of the soil. The crown is where the roots join the plant’s main trunk.
    3. Backfill the hole with the removed soil. Pat the soil around the roots, but don’t press so hard that the soil is compacted. Water the soil deeply.
    4. Provide a sturdy support, such as a trellis or arbor, if the clematis isn’t planted near a fence or wall. If the supports are wide, tie string or wire from the bottom to the top of the trellis, as the clematis tendrils won’t grow around thick supports. Alternatively, allow sweet autumn clematis to grow unsupported. It will spread over the ground to a width of about 10 feet.
    5. Prune sweet autumn clematis down by at least half of its length in spring. If the plant is looking old and woody, cut the vines down to within 3 or 4 feet.
    6. Provide about an inch of moisture for your sweet autumn clematis every week that moisture isn’t provided by rainfall.

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