Sweet Autumn Clematis: tips for growing and supporting this fall blooming clematis. Also includes easy to understand information on pruning.
Back in the late spring, I mentioned in passing that I wanted to plant a Sweet Autumn Clematis in my backyard garden that runs along my neighbor’s fence. I never got around to it, but it turns out that for once, my procrastination paid off. My neighbor, Betsy, planted one in her yard a few years ago, and early in the summer, she threw it over the fence so I could enjoy it too.
Beautiful fall blooming clematis
This fall blooming clematis lives up to its name by beginning to bloom in late August, and continues all the way through September. The leaves are very dark green, so the tiny white blossoms appear to pop right off the vines.
Sweet Autumn Clematis Growing Tips
- They like a little shade: Sweet Autumn is hardy in growing zones 5 through 10 and can take the sun…but they thrive and bloom profusely if they get just a bit of shade.
- They need a strong support: This particular clematis takes off in the second or third year and just goes crazy. It is sometimes referred to as being invasive (although I wouldn’t go that far.) A fence or very strong trellis will work best.
- Without support, it will grow and spread along the ground, much like a ground cover. This is not the recommended placement, because it can become invasive and choke out other plants.
- Don’t prune until after it blooms: Betsy has never cut back our clematis. If you do choose to cut back your Sweet Autumn, make sure and do it in late fall, after it blooms. Very early spring would work too but make sure to prune before any new, green shoots appear. The stems can be cut back to 18 to 24 inches. This will prevent them from becoming leggy.
- This plant blooms on the current year’s growth, and won’t produce blooms the first year or two. After that, the blooms will be plentiful, and the plant will become bushy and full.
- Sweet Autumn is deciduous, so the stems will be bare in the winter.
- After the little white flowers bloom, they turn into small silver seed heads. These can be harvested for fall flower arrangements and decorating.
- Sweet Autumn clematis can be propagated from root soft-wood cuttings in the spring, and vine cuttings in early summer.
Update 2021: I was just at my local Lowe’s and saw a whole table full of sweet autumn clematis plants. So if you have always wanted to plant this fall blooming beauty, now is the time!
More about Clematis: