Evergreen Clematis

Beautiful year-round, this glossy-leaf vine is a blooming wonder in early spring.

July 22, 2020
Evergreen Clematis

Evergreen Clematis

Evergreen clematis flounces beautifully along the top of a garden wall, helping to soften harsh lines.

Evergreen clematis flounces beautifully along the top of a garden wall, helping to soften harsh lines.

Mention clematis, and most immediately envision a frilly deciduous vine with masses of showy blossoms in a wide variety of colors. But there’s another type that doesn’t even look like a clematis, and unlike the others, remains green year-round.

Evergreen clematis, Clematis armandii, is a springtime showstopper in its own right with its unique finger-like, pointed leaves and small, creamy-white flowers that offer a faint vanilla scent. This species, named for 19th-century French plant collector Pere Armand, is native to China and hardy to zone 6.

Although its vines can extend up to 40 feet long or more, evergreen clematis has tendrils that allow it to grab structures and other plants, then drop down and flounce gracefully, rather than reach for the stars like other vines. Its dark green leaves point downward, too, adding to that weeping effect.

For those reasons, the vine is perfect for softening the top of fences or shrouding an archway. Just give it plenty of support with a strong arbor or trellis because with time the vine can become heavy. As it matures, evergreen clematis also becomes quite woody, with all its new growth forming at the top of the plant.

In moderate climates, this clematis blooms as early as late February — early to mid-spring elsewhere —and prefers full sun, though it will tolerate some shade. The clusters of star-shaped flowers typically are white, while other varieties offer pink, dark red and magenta blooms.

A fast grower, evergreen clematis has few enemies, but sometimes parts of the vine will turn brown and die for no apparent reason. And like other clematis, it can be struck by a disease known as clematis wilt, though that more often affects the larger-flowering varieties.

Here are two other evergreen vines to consider:

Star Jasmine: Trachelospermum jasminoides actually isn’t a true jasmine; it just gets its name from the jasmine-like fragrance of its tiny white star-shaped flowers that bloom from mid-spring to early summer. With dark green glossy leaves, it grows up to 40 feet, is extremely drought-tolerant and hardy to zone 8. Like most flowering plants, it prefers full sun but will tolerate part shade. This vining plant must be trained, such as around the eaves of a porch; otherwise, it will just form a bushy plant.

Carolina Jessamine: This fragrant evergreen vine, also known as yellow jessamine, is prized for its spectacular masses of bright yellow flowers in early spring and again in fall. Its leaves are small and nondescript, but the twining vine makes up for it with its explosive growth. Hardy to zone 6, it’s also highly heat-tolerant. Give it plenty of sun for best flowering and prune often to control growth. Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens, performs best along a fence, atop an arbor or against a trellis.

Next Up

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Embrace high-flying beauty by planting black-eyed Susan vine, an easy growing tropical climber.

Wisteria Has a Long History in the U.S.

Master gardener Maureen Gilmer takes a look back at the roots of this popular flowering vine.

How to Cultivate Clematis

Learn how to grow and train a clematis vine with these expert tips.

Clematis 'Bees' Jubilee': Our Favorite Flowers

This beautiful climbing plant adds interest to any arbor, trellis or lamppost.

In the Weeds: Wisteria Vine

This poetic climbing vine adds a touch of romance to any garden.

Trumpet Vine Is a Beautiful But Invasive Plant

This perennial will give you flowers and attract swarms of hummingbirds all summer, but you’ll need to watch that it doesn’t take over your yard.

Honey Do: Growing Trumpet Honeysuckle

Let's sound the trumpet about this appealing vine.

Our Favorite Flowers: Mandevilla

A beautiful late-spring bloomer.

Tropical Flowers for Your Deck and Garden

Don't let space limitations keep you from growing sumptuous mandevilla, bougainvillea and hibiscus.

Growing American Wisteria

Keep this breathtaking flowering vine in check by choosing the native variety.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

What's New in Outdoors

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.