Sweet Autumn Clematis

jlinkApril 10, 2006

On our cobblestone back patio, I am highly considering Sweet Autumn Clematis to cover the fence that covers two sides of the patio. I like the SAC for its late season bloom, sweet fragrance, and multitude of flowers. However, I have never grown this vine before and have no idea how it will cover the area. Any help? I'm especially curious about how wide the vine will grow and if it will be full and lush all the way to the lower part of the vine. Is it trainable or will it just take off and cover the area in a bush of vines? Also, I need a plant to grow at the base to shade the roots of the vine. Suggestions? Any ideas would be helpful - I'm an ambitious, but novice gardener. Thanks!

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tam88(z5 IA)

Hi jlink! If you want a vine to get big this will do it. Where I have mine planted it covers the trellis along with trailing over the ground. You will need to keep to training it. I cut mine back every year so I have good blooms from bottom to top. I highly recommend if you have the space. It is stunning when it blooms! Also this is a easy clematis to grow. Have Fun!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 11:38AM
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Thanks tam88! All the research I've done seems to indicate a big, bushy vine will be the end result. I just don't know how to get there. I will have to find something to shade the roots. Also, I don't know how quickly or profusely this vine will cover the unappealing fence. Will I need to also put in an earlier vine? I don't want to have to battle what to prune though as the SAC looks rather tangled at the end of the growing season.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 5:10PM
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tam88(z5 IA)

Jlink, This vine is a easy one to start with. I would recommend finding a larger one to start with instead of a smaller. It will cost you more but it is worth it because it has a better root system. I would not put in another vine unless it is a clematis that can be cut back each year (group III). Otherwise you will have a difficult time trying to cut back the sweet autumn and the other vine. Mine at home is in its 4th year and it ends up at least 3 foot wide. As for shading the roots I have clematis that are in full sun. I just make sure that I mulch well.

Take Care!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 11:06AM
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Here's a pic of my sweet autumn from last year. The pics are one year's growth. I trained it up to the top of the fence, and just kept weaving it around the top of the fence pickets. Cut it back in the spring.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 11:27PM
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Tam88 - Thanks for the info. I might try some daylilies to keep the roots a bit shaded. I think I will not try to integrate another vine; it sounds like I'd lose it fast!

Pianolady - Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this photo. It is so encouraging to see it's quick and ample growth. Is that just one plant?!?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 2:15PM
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Yes, this is one plant.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2006 at 6:23PM
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That is a fabby pic! I imagine that clematis has a few years on it- like 5?
Mine sweet autmn is in it's third year and it is already budding leaves at the TOP of my porch.
Yes I opted not to cut it as I need the height now. You swear those skiny vines are dead- until the leaves pop out!

I'm not bad mouthin' sweet autmn is it a fine choice- but not your only choice.

jlink, You may also want to consider clematis tangutica which grows like a son of a gun and has yellow penant blooms and the cutest seed whorls after.

If you want more leaves and a more solid than whispy look also consider the variagated porcelain berry vine. 'ampelopsis elegans' It is in the grape family and does get some teeth marks from jap. beetles. It is not invasive like the plain green. In fact mine isn't invasive at all! It will also get height in a hurry esp. after it's second year.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 12:00PM
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