Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sweet Autumn Clematis, Sweet Autumn Virgin's Bower, Japanese Clematis
Clematis terniflora 'Purity'

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Clematis (KLEM-uh-tiss) (Info)
Species: terniflora (ter-ni-FLOR-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Purity

Synonym:Clematis maximowicziana
Synonym:Clematis paniculata
Synonym:Clematis chinensis
Synonym:Clematis dioscoreifolia
Synonym:Clematis thunbergii

» View all varieties of Clematis

18 members have or want this plant for trade.

Late Mixed

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Flower Fragrance:
Very Fragrant

Bloom Shape:

Bloom Diameter:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Unknown - Tell us

Pruning Groups:
Group 3 - Summer/Fall bloomers; prune hard in early spring

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Barbsgirl
Thumbnail #1 of Clematis terniflora by Barbsgirl

Thumbnail #2 of Clematis terniflora by TBGDN

Thumbnail #3 of Clematis terniflora by TBGDN

By LarryR
Thumbnail #4 of Clematis terniflora by LarryR

By LarryR
Thumbnail #5 of Clematis terniflora by LarryR

By KariGrows
Thumbnail #6 of Clematis terniflora by KariGrows


5 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive StuKin On May 4, 2013, StuKin from Stamford, CT wrote:

I first saw this plant growing on a stone wall beside rte 138 in Rhode Island, and was intrigued. I didn't know what it was, but I wanted one. Finally, after searching for 5 years, I found one. Planted beside a split rail fence, it has thrived for at least 10 years. I've collected numerous seedlings and planted them in other locations where they can climb. I have not found this plant to be invasive or otherwise problematic. Most of it gets winter-killed, so it controls itself. It's not necessary to remove the dead material, but it definitely looks neater if it is cleaned up in the spring. I understand this plant to be highly poisonous and possibly a skin irritant. I've handled it extensively and never had any adverse reaction. I don't know where the name Virgin's Bower comes from, but it did not work with my daughter.

Positive KariGrows On Apr 5, 2013, KariGrows from New Lisbon, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I cant say enough about this plant. A friend gave me a small seedling and look at it 4 years later! I have given it so little attention...but very important is to have something sturdy for it to climb on. I have a wire mesh attached to the wooden frame structure. The wood form , was built to hang deer during deer hunting. I thought it should be used for something far better and it has worked out well.
Last summer Wisconsin had a drought and since this is far from the hose, it only was watered a few times. The roots must be very deep for it thrived and bloomed just like the year before.
I love it.

Positive susanda On May 12, 2012, susanda from Louisville, KY wrote:

i love autumn haze. hope to grow it in vt this year. Wonder will it grow here?
had it in Texas and KY.
there seems some confusion about its invasiveness.
i was told there was 'old man's beard' [c. vitalba] which is a weed, some of us might like anyhow, and will take over; and 'autumn haze'[c. terniflora] which is slower growing, can be a wonderful giant fully white frothy flowering bower vine, but not invasive at all. it took me 3 years to get mine to take in KY. very slow growing.

Neutral KittyWittyKat On Apr 8, 2012, KittyWittyKat from Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

The cultivar 'Purity' is a male clone that blooms in the spring.

Negative altoclef On Sep 5, 2011, altoclef from Los Altos, CA wrote:

I planted Sweet Autumn in the fall of 2008. It hardly grew at all at first, but in 2009 leafed out and showed promise, but no flowers. In 2010 it produced one flower in July, but no fragrance. As of today, September 2011, it is producing many buds, but none of them is opening. Perhaps we have a "Sweet October."

Positive charlielou On Apr 12, 2011, charlielou from Green Bay, WI wrote:

I live in Green Bay WI- I planted this variety about three years ago. It has not appeared anywhere else in my yard, and there are so many blooms in fall, it is just spectacular. Is it possible that there are different varieties available? (Mine does not seem to sow seed anywhere!)
The vine is gorgeous- especially since it flowers late, and has such sweet fragrance. I am just wondering if there are self-sowing, and non-s-s plants available. I did not plant from seed- purchased the plant from a local nursery.

Positive TBGDN On Oct 12, 2006, TBGDN from Macy, IN wrote:

This strong growing vine can easily cover a small tree or arbor in one season. I have it planted at the base of a Japanese Pussy Willow where it thrives and completely covers the tree with fragrant, vanilla scented blooms in late August and September. I had previously grown it next to the garage on a large 8' trellis/arbor, however it outgrew the space and began growing over the garage roof and even beneath the shingles and siding. Since planting it in the new location it seems happy and makes a nice landscape addition in late summer. It is AKA Clematis maximowicziana and Clematis paniculata. A good garden choice for those who have plenty of space, or to make a bold garden statement.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Gadsden, Alabama
Rainbow City, Alabama
Juneau, Alaska
Stamford, Connecticut
Quincy, Florida
Carrollton, Georgia
Tennille, Georgia
Geneva, Illinois
Quincy, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Anderson, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
South Amana, Iowa
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Edgartown, Massachusetts
Quincy, Massachusetts
Rolla, Missouri
Cut Bank, Montana
Omaha, Nebraska
Annandale, New Jersey
Brigantine, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Greene, New York
Poughkeepsie, New York
Durham, North Carolina
Oak Ridge, North Carolina
Akron, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Geneva, Ohio
Portsmouth, Ohio
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Summerville, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
White River Junction, Vermont
Springfield, Virginia
Cathan, Washington
Port Angeles, Washington
Green Bay, Wisconsin
New Lisbon, Wisconsin

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