Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Clematis Virginiana

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Clematis virginiana (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Clematis virginiana (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Flowering period: Late summer to early autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 6m

Eventual Spread: 2m

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Ranunculaceae

Clematis virginiana is a fast growing deciduous twining climber. Its mid green leaves are compound, with up to 5 leaflets. Its leaflets are elliptic and sharply toothed. Its leaf tendrils are twining which enables this plant to climb. Its fragrant white flowers are up to 3cm across and are produced in axillary panicles. Its fruit are achenes and appear as plume like seed heads.

Clematis virginiana Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Clematis virginiana Flower (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Clematis virginiana, commonly known as Devil’s Darning Needles, Devil’s Hair, Love Vine and Woodbine, is native to north east USA, including Virginia. In its native habitat it grows at the edges of woodland, damp slopes and within scrub.

The etymological root of the binomial name Clematis is derived from the Greek klema ’vine shoot’, alluding to the climbing habit of the species. Virginiana is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Virginia, USA’.

The landscape architect may find Clematis virginiana useful as a fast growing fragrant climber. It may be used to scramble over unattractive structures.

Ecologically, Clematis virginiana flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

Clematis virginiana Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Clematis virginiana Leaf (21/09/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Clematis virginiana prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate dry soils.

Clematis virginiana requires little maintenance. If necessary pruning should be carried out in spring. It may be hard pruned if necessary in late winter to early spring, to 30cm from the ground.

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