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Clematis Species, Virgin's Bower

Clematis montana var. rubens

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Clematis (KLEM-uh-tiss) (Info)
Species: montana var. rubens
Additional cultivar information:(aka Rubens)
» View all varieties of Clematis
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15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


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:


Flower Fragrance:

Slightly Fragrant

Bloom Shape:


Bloom Diameter:

Small - less than 2 inches (5 cm)

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Pruning Groups:

Group 1 - Spring bloomers; no pruning

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

By simple layering

By serpentine layering

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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

Elk Grove, California

Stanford, California

Willits, California

New Castle, Delaware

Chicago, Illinois

Council Bluffs, Iowa

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Fallston, Maryland

Dracut, Massachusetts

Jackson, Missouri

Sparks, Nevada

Lake Grove, New York

Cincinnati, Ohio

Souderton, Pennsylvania

Warwick, Rhode Island

Summerville, South Carolina

Plano, Texas

Providence Forge, Virginia

Olympia, Washington

Seattle, Washington (2 reports)

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 7, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Hardy at least to Z6a . Very large and vigorous almost to a fault.

Blackened crispy leaves are often due to a common fungal disease called clematis wilt. Large-flowered clematis are more prone to clematis wilt than the species and small-flowered hybrids.

Clematis and tomatoes are two exceptions to the usual rule, and are best planted 6 inches deeper than the soil level in the pot. This protects the stem bases from mechanical damage, and helps prevent clematis wilt, whose fungus enters where there's damage. It also helps keep the roots cool.


On Jan 3, 2014, Gascoigne from Shawnee Mission, KS (Zone 5a) wrote:

Grows strong in Kansas City area, in a shady spot on the S. side of my house so it doesn't cook in summer. Grew fast once established! Not as fragrant as claimed, but very pretty and prolific! Been in the ground 2years now!


On Oct 11, 2010, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I purchased this plant from an online vendor that listed its hardiness through zone 6. I planted the vine at a fence that is exposed on both sides and far from any structures. As soon as cold wet weather arrived, the vine died.

I have since read that the success of this plant in climates cooler than zone 7 largely depends on a suitable microclimate; sheltered roots, a wall that holds warmth, protection from wind, and such.


On Oct 11, 2010, chgogardennut from Chicago, IL wrote:

This clematis was planted in 2008 in a shade area. In the spring of 2009, I cut it back since I was use to other clematis that need this in the spring. Oblivious, it did not bloom! So this spring of 2010, I left it alone and it still did not bloom. I am going to leave it in it's present location since it is thriving. What I mean by thriving is that it is growing ever though it is not flowering! Maybe next year, it will bloom for me??

I live in (Zone 5) Chicago, Illinois.


On Sep 7, 2010, suentommy from Souderton, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love this plant. It is a house eater and has to be trimmed and kept out of gutters but it looks so feathery on my front porch. It really softens the architecture. The only time I notice fragrance from the flowers is after dark when it has a light vanilla fragrance. I love sitting out on the porch and just catching whiffs of it. Our vine is 20 years old and in that time I've cut it back hard only twice. Make sure if you do plan on pruning it to do it right after flowering. If you wait too late you will have few flowers next season. This has always been hard for my husband to accept. In mid to late summer he sits on the porch each year and plans how he is going to cut it back to the ground. That is the constant problem I face with this plant.

Update: My "Rubens" ... read more


On Feb 8, 2010, birder17 from Jackson, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

This clematis is rather twiggy looking and messy for me. Last summer was the first summer it really bloomed a lot. We had much more rain than usual. I have it in full sun and believe it would probably do better with a little shade. Mine has no fragrance. I have this vine on a trellis close to my Carefree Beauty Rose and very blue Balloon Flower.
I recommend cutting this vine to about 12 inches the first year to establish roots and have more vines for more blooms.


On Apr 21, 2006, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Rubens is beautiful growing under the eaves of the patio. The foliage is lovely in zone 9 except for about 2 months when it goes dormant.
Even without flowers this vine is worth growing because of the lacy foliage. The flowers are wonderful in the spring although mine tend to be white instead of pink. It may be because it receives little light.
Although people say that it smells vanilla, I haven't found that mine does.
Like most clematis it is slow to start but will eventually grow to 30 feet with quite a substantial trunk.
This cultivar should only be pruned in spring after flowering. Then only dead wood or neatening should be done as Montanas bloom only on old wood.


On May 30, 2005, LC711 from Des Plaines, IL wrote:

This plant is amazing. The scent is mild vanilla and the flowers are ABUNDANT (pink with tinges of white) in spring. I leave it alone and just enjoy it.