Sweet Autumn Clematis | A Fall Blooming Beauty

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.

Sweet Autumn Clematis: tips for growing and supporting this fall blooming clematis. Also includes easy to understand information on pruning.

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: tips for growing and supporting this fall blooming clematis. Also includes easy to understand information on pruning.

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.

Sweet Autumn Clematis: tips for growing and supporting this fall blooming clematis. Also includes easy to understand information on pruning.

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:

Sweet Autumn Clematis: tips for growing and supporting this fall blooming clematis. Also includes easy to understand information on pruning.

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  1. I had a purple clematis when I lived in Colorado. I loved it! Not sure if it would do as well in my yard in Kansas. Beautiful aren’t they?!

  2. Recently moved to the midwest from desert…love all your tips on pruning, etc.

  3. Patricia A Cahill says:

    Sweet Clemantis? Is this not like Honeysuckel????? Only that it looks a lot like it. Thank you……

  4. Christine says:

    Autumn clematis is an invasive plant. I took mine down year’s ago but I can’t get rid of it. It pops up every where.

  5. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, I love that Sweet Autumn Clematis! It’s so pretty! I am going to try to find one in Spring so I can plant it and enjoy those lovely Fall blooms! Such a lovely post! Bless you, Ann, for always sharing with us! Have a great week!

  6. Hi Ann, although I love the look of this clematis in bloom, be careful as it will sprout in random places in your garden. Oddly, I bought what was supposed to be a purple clematis at my local nursery and I guess a sprout of autumn clematis got in the pot with it and low and behold it took over on my trellis. It was not what I wanted at all, so I ripped it out. I used to be able to grow beautiful and prolific blooming clematis at my other homes, but haven’t been able here at this house to save my soul!! So frustrating! Yet I keep buying them and trying again.

  7. Barbara Mossbarger says:

    Beautiful! Your blog has always been my favorite. Love everything about it……

  8. Sweet Autumn Clematis is one of my very favorite perennials. I had one for years on my fence that leads into my garden on the side of my house. It was beautiful, however it drove my husband crazy! He complained about it on a yearly basis. It “hid” the garden from the passers by as they walked past our house and admired our yard. Finally, after going through this “discussion” every year, I conceded and let him cut it down. I miss it tremendously this fall and enjoy others who have it. Yours is beautiful and please enjoy it for me!

  9. Mine is in part shade next to the garage door so it is nice to see when we go in and out the door. I will try anything in my garden to use for a flower arrangement and this is no exception. It works beautifully as filler and gives a nice airy feel to the arrangement.

  10. Cindy Jones says:

    I love the tiny blossoms on this white clematis.

  11. I have 3 of these in my yard. Mine get full sun but their “feet” are shaded by knockout roses or peonies.
    I usually trim them in the late fall. My husband severly trimmed the oldest plant this spring. It went crazy and is larger than ever. The other 2 plants are from starts of the oldest plant. It is truly a beautiful clematis. You won’t be disappointed if you plant one.

  12. Ann, this has been on my list of things to plant, too. But I’m really wondering where I can put this vine since it needs a bit of shade. How wonderful that your neighbor is sharing hers with you!

  13. Carole Thomas says:

    Hello Ann,
    This blog was very informative and the links about Clematis are great. I have never had a clematis that bloomed in the fall. I love that your neighbor shares hers by throwing it over the fence and you likewise. Your blog is always interesting and beautifully displayed. I also am enjoying the fall recipe cards. I am always happy to see your blog in my inbox. Thanks and have a GREAT fall.

  14. I love my Sweet Autum clematis! I throw kisses at it ! It makes me so happy to see it growing so beautiful at the end of summer. Spectacular showing ! Empress of Dirt ! She’s wonderful .
    It goes without saying, love all the information you share with all of us. Thank you🍁🍁🍂

  15. Hi Ann
    I have had one for years . You might get a surprise one day and find a seedling growing in your yard .
    I have found at least three. One I gave to my daughter and the others I have placed by my gate . They are a welcome sight when the garden starts to fade.

  16. Just lovely.You have such a sweet neighbor.

  17. Wow, what a great neighbor you have. I love the idea of sharing the beauty!

  18. First I’ve heard of this fall blooming clematis. It is just beautiful and love that your neighbor shared hers. All our neighbor shares is weeds that grow over our privacy fence that we have to chop off. LOL. My hubby loves clematis (we have a couple) so I’ll have to share this with him.

  19. Sweet Autumn Clematis is one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for things. I really, really wanted something to soften our front entry and, boy, did I get it! It is invasive but oh so pretty! My yard man has cut it down to the ground three times this year and there it is – still looking pretty – all over the porch and over there, and there, and there… ;)

    I’m not giving up on it, though – I’m moving it to the back to grow up to my second story deck – the plant and I will both be happier with it there.


  20. Norma Rolader says:

    Oh my so gorgeous….I love clematis I tried to grow one but failed!!! Our yard is so shady with all the trees and the parts that get sun is only maybe a few hours…so your help would be appreciated with your input Thank you for sharing this beautiful clematis God bless

    1. Sweet Autumn needs sun and a few hours probably isn’t enough…perhaps a place in your yard that might get more sun (if there is one?)

  21. Susan Cecere says:

    We have a clematis which is very old.
    We cut it back every fall. In the spring it takes off unbelievably fast climbing a secure trellis attached to porch pole.
    It produces the most gorgeous 4-5″ deep pink flowers in early summer, it is just covered. What a joy!

    1. Hi Susan…I have one of these early summer pink clematis vines growing around my light post. I agree…they are amazing!

  22. A great neighbor is a treasure of life!

  23. I planted a Sweet Autumn Clematis in 1999 or 2000 ?? as it bloomed in Sept. 2001. (9-11) had occurred my young don nicknamed three thousand tears for all the international & Americans first responders,true heros all who died in 9-11… I look out my window & see since then I’ve lost my husband to cancer,had a house fire,but rose from the ashes because of my Faith..I see the clematis as my PHOENIX,….. glad it survived fire,built a fence out further to accomadate it..( cost more but worth it). Great sweet kind neighbor you have… 🙏🏼🇺🇸🌿. 🍀

  24. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    OH, STOP!
    One post of the hydranas in front of the porch before you quit, please.
    Thank you.

  25. One of the sweet joys of Fall and a pleasant reminder of a generous neighbor. What a wonderful world this would be if we worried less about our own rights and concerned more with bringing g joy to our fellow man. Sorry for the soap box but all this “take a knee” concerns me.

  26. Hi Ann, could you do a post on how you put your garden to bed? Love your classy ideas.

    1. Hi Vicki! I don’t do much…I store the smaller pots in my shed, pull out any annuals and cut back the perennials. I don’t have roses or anything that needs covered so it’s pretty easy!

      1. Last year a neighbor threw away his big hay bales after Halloween and I asked for them. When you take them apart, the hay is in slices. I broke them apart and covered my plants for winter.

  27. Lorri Rauscher says:

    Hi Ann..I have many Sweet Autumn clematis at my Moms and my garden.They are breathtaking ..especially in full bloom. They give off a mild perfume. I always trim mine in early spring because when the snow falls on the plant, it looks lovely.The give off shoots in the latter part of the summer…I have given many away to friends who see it in full bloom.

  28. Thank you for this post, Ann! It brought back wonderful memories of a former neighbor and how we used to share plants and conversation over the fence.

  29. I do enjoy Sweet Autumn Clematis but here in central Ohio they spread to the point of invasion if you let them go – meaning they self-seed everywhere.

  30. Thank you for sharing this. I have been trying to grow them, but with not much success. I have one that keeps coming back, but it is not strong enough to really get pretty.