Plant types and subtypes: Vines
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade, shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet
Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, poor, loam, sand
Bloom Time: July, August, September
Bloom Color: white
Leaf Color: green, blue-green
Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, climbing, deer resistant, fall interest, fragrant flowers, medicinal, naturalizing, poisonous
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Clematis virginianaAlso known as:
devil's darning needles,
old man's beard,
Clematis virginiana var. missouriensis
Clematis virginiana is a fine textured, dense growing vine. It attaches itself by twisting delicate stems and therefore does not damage its structural support. The toothed leaves are opposite, can be simple or compound, and are yellowish green to dark green. Beginning as early as mid-summer and sometimes extending until early fall, it produces dense clusters of delicate, whitish flowers. By mid-fall, the leaves turn attractive shades of yellow, and the flower heads give way to wispy, white, feathery achenes that persist well into winter.
Very easy to cultivate in average to rich soil, under part sun to part shade. The dense growth makes it ideal to conceal fences and other light structures. The stems are light and will not damage their support. Established plants are fast growing ( up to 15' in one season) and can be cut down hard in early spring to get rid of dead stems. It prefers a location that remains moist, however, mature plants are tolerant of dry conditions, particularly if in a shaded spot. A sunnier position will produce a denser plant and more profuse flowers. Both cold hardy and heat tolerant: zones 3-9
Clematis virginiana self seeds readily. Collected seeds should be cold stratified for at least 2 month before sowing. Fresh seeds may be sown directly outdoors. It is very easy to propagate from softwood cuttings or by layering.
Often confused with the exotic invasive Clematis terniflora (autumn clematis), the leaves of the latter are blueish, have smooth margins, and often a prominent white central vein. Also, the flowers of the introduced species are much more fragrant than those of our native species whose scent is very mild. All parts of the plant should be considered poisonous. Sensitivity will vary per individual. Skin irritation is the most common effect, but it is minor and short lived. All parts of the plant have been used in traditional native American medicine.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
|Species||Clematis virginiana||devil's darning needles|