Clematis Vines: Types, Flowers, Leaves (Pictures) – Identification Guide

Clematis Vines

Clematis is a group of flowering vines, noted for their large colorful star-shaped or bell-shaped flowers, lance-shaped green leaves, and climbing or spreading habit. Clematis flowers are some of the showiest in the garden. Large clematis flowers can be as huge as 10” (25 cm) across and be shades of purple, red, pink, and white. Small clematis flowers are dainty star or bell-shaped blooms with slender petals and bloom throughout spring.

This article is a complete guide to some of the most spectacular clematis flowers. Descriptions and pictures of the flowering vines will help you identify climbing plants suitable for your sunny front or backyard.

About Clematis Vines

Clematis Vines

Clematis vines are flowering climbing plants with flowers in shades of purple, pink, red and white

Clematis vines are hardy, flowering plants with woody trailing or climbing stems that grow up to 18 ft. (5.5 m) tall. The vigorous woody climbing clematis plants thrive in cool conditions growing in full sun to partial shade. Most varieties of clematis flowers grow best in USDA zones 4 to 9; however, some are cold-hardy in zone 3.

The outstanding feature of clematis plants is their showy flowers. Clematis flowers can be hues of purple, pink, red, white, yellow, and apricot. Some particularly stunning flowers on clematis vines have bi-colored petals in pastel shades or large double blooms with pointed petals.

It’s good to note that clematis vines contain toxins that can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats or dogs. However, the plant’s leaves and flowers have a bitter taste, and pets usually avoid eating them. Clematis flowers are also ideal for planting in a deer-resistant garden.

Clematis Flower

Clematis Flower

Clematis flower comes in many forms and colors and can be single, semi-double, or double blooms

Clematis flowers are usually star-shaped blooms with five to seven petals with a pointed or rounded tip. Varieties of large-flowered clematis can measure 6 to 10” (15 – 25 cm) across. The showy flowers usually have a darker band in the middle and often have a wavy margin.

Clematis plants are identified by the size of their flowers and bloom time. For example, there are large-flowered clematis and small-flowered clematis. In addition, blooming clematis plants are either early bloomers and flower in late spring or late bloomers that blossom in early summer.

Flowering clematis vines have many flower forms, including single, semi-double, or double blooms. The vining plant’s blossoms are often in the shape of a star. However, they can be bell-shaped, tubular, and some clematis flowers look like tulip flowers.

Clematis Leaves

Clematis Leaves

Clematis leaves have pointed tips and can have a smooth or toothed margins

Clematis vines grow lance-shaped or heart-shaped leathery leaves with a glossy green shine. Varieties of clematis can be broadleaf evergreen or deciduous plants, depending on the climate and variety. The leaves grow in a compound arrangement in groups of three, and leaflets can grow up to 4” (10 cm) long and 3” (7.5 cm) wide.

Depending on the clematis species, the pinnately compound heart-shaped leaves can have a smooth to coarsely toothed margin. An identifying feature of clematis vine leaves is that they have a pointed tip and shallowly lobed cleft at the petiole.

The thick, waxy clematis leaves are why the flowering clematis vines are also called leather flowers.

How to Identify Clematis

Flowers are the best way to identify the variety of clematis vine. Typically, clematis flowers have cordate or lance-shaped petals and bloom in spring or summer. However, some clematis vines are identified by their flowers with wavy or ruffled petals. Identification of clematis leaves is easy because groups of three leaflets grow oppositely on woody stems.

Types of Clematis Vines (With Pictures of Flowers) – Identification

Clematis vines are divided into three categories depending on their bloom time and growth habits.

The clematis groups are spring bloomers (early blooming), repeat bloomers, and summer or fall bloomers (late-flowering clematis). Clematis plants are then identified by their flower shape, color, and size.

Early Blooming Clematis Vines with Large Flowers (with Pictures) – Identification

Spring blooming clematis have woody vines with spectacular large flowers measuring 6” to 10” (15 – 25 cm) in diameter. The star-shaped flowers can be single, semi-double, or double blooms and come in various pastel shades. The early blooming flowers bloom in spring on old wood and rebloom on new wood in late summer or fall.

Clematis ‘Asao’

Clematis ‘Asao’

Clematis ‘Asao’

Clematis ‘Asao’ is identified by its large pink flowers with pink and pale pink pointed petals and a cluster of yellow stamens in the center. The large woody clematis vine is a reblooming variety that thrives in moist, well-drained soil. Thanks to its compact growth habit, clematis ‘Asao’ is ideal for small gardens or growing in containers.

  • Clematis flower color: Pink and pale pink.
  • Bloom time: Late spring or early summer and again in early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Height: 7 to 10 ft. (2.1 – 3 m).

Clematis ‘Bees Jubilee’

Clematis ‘Bees Jubilee’

Clematis ‘Bees Jubilee’

The large, showy flowers growing on the clematis ‘Bees Jubilee’ vine have four to seven creamy-pink petals with a dark pink band in the center. This scrambling vining plant is ideal for growing in sunny gardens to brighten up walls, fences or grow through shrubs. This type of clematis belongs to the early reblooming clematis vines.

  • Clematis flower color: Pale pink petals with a deep pink central bar.
  • Bloom time: Flowers in spring or early summer then reblooms in early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or light sun.
  • Zones: 4 to 11.
  • Height: 6 to 13 ft. (1.8 – 4 m).

Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’

Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’

Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’

‘Belle of Woking’ clematis is a large-flowered vining plant with distinctive showy silvery-mauve or pure white star-shaped double flowers. The white-flowering clematis vine is also identified by its heart-shaped leathery leaves. Due to its compact size, the clematis ‘Belle of Woking’ is ideal for containers, climbing a trellis, wall, or arbor.

  • Clematis flower color: White or silvery-mauve.
  • Bloom time: Late spring to midsummer and repeat blooming in late summer or early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade.
  • Zones: 4 to 8.
  • Height: 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 m).

Clematis ‘Bourbon’

Clematis ‘Bourbon’

Clematis ‘Bourbon’

The twining clematis ‘Bourbon’ is identified by its enormous blooms with deep red, five or six-petaled flowers and contrasting spindly creamy yellow stamens. The bright red clematis flowers measuring 5” to 6” (12 – 15 cm) in diameter contrast with the light green leathery, lanceolate leaves. This red-vining clematis cultivar fills gardens with a flush of flowers from late spring until fall.

  • Clematis flower color: Bright red.
  • Bloom time: Early summer and reblooming in late summer to early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial shade.
  • Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Height: 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m).

Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’

Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’

Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’

The climbing clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’ has spectacular purple flowers with a central white or pale purple band on each petal. Also called ‘Fairy Blue’ clematis, the star-shaped deep lilac flower with the large tuft of silvery-mauve stamens contrasts with the dark green compound leaves. Each purple flower measures 4” – 5” (10 – 12 cm) across.

  • Clematis flower color: Dark purple to light purple.
  • Bloom time: Late spring or early summer with flowers appearing again in late summer to early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun.
  • Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Height: 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m).

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

Clematis ‘Diamantina’

The clematis ‘Diamantina’ is easily identified by its masses of showy pom-pom purple-blue double flowers blooming in late spring. The spectacular purple flowers with their ruffled, pink-rimmed petals grow up to 6” (15 cm) across. The long-lasting summer flowers bloom for up to four weeks on compact woody stems.

  • Clematis flower color: Purple-blue flowers with rosy-pink highlights.
  • Bloom time: First in late spring or early summer, then reblooming in late summer and early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun.
  • Zones: 4 to 11.
  • Height: 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 m).

Clematis ‘Doctor Ruppel’

Clematis ‘Doctor Ruppel’

Clematis ‘Doctor Ruppel’

The clematis ‘Doctor Ruppel’ is an easily identifiable early large-flowered clematis with large pale-pink petals featuring a deep pink central bar on each petal. The pink clematis flowers have a tuft of creamy-white stamens in the center. The bright pink, star-shaped clematis flowers grow 5” to 8” (13 – 20 cm) across.

  • Clematis flower color: Pale pink margins with reddish-pink centers.
  • Bloom time: A group 2 clematis plant that blooms in late spring or early summer with blooming repeating at the end of summer.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Zones: 4 to 11.
  • Height: 6 to 12 ft. (1.8 – 3.6 m).

Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’

Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’

Clematis ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’

The large-flowered ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ clematis is a spectacular climbing vine with showy pure white double flowers. The clematis flowers are identified by several rows of pointed petals with recurved tips. The center of the white flower has a tuft of creamy-white stamens.

The clematis climber is ideal for growing white flowers on a trellis, arbor, pergola, or supported to a wall. The shimmering white flowers measure 4” – 6” (10 – 15 cm) across.

  • Clematis flower color: Snow-white with a distinctive shimmer to the petals.
  • Bloom time: First in late spring/early summer, then again in late summer/early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun but can tolerate some shade.
  • Zones: 4 to 8.
  • Height: 8 – 12 ft. (2.4 – 3.6 m).

Late Blooming Clematis Vines With Large Flowers (with Pictures) – Identification 

Large-flowered clematis climbing plants that bloom in summer are identified by their impressive large flowers that measure 5” – 8” (13 – 20 cm) across. The hardy clematis flowering vines repeat blooming in late summer or early fall. Like the early blooming varieties, late-blooming clematis flowers have a wide array of colorful petals.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Also called Jackman’s clematis, this late-blooming, large-flowered vine blooms with masses of spectacular deep purple four- to six-petaled flowers. The large flowers with broad, rounded, pointed petals have a small tuft of yellowish stamens in the center.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is a popular variety of climbing vine due to its eye-catching velvety purple flowers that measure 3” to 4” (7.5 – 10 cm) across.

  • Clematis flower color: Dark purple.
  • Bloom time: Group 3 clematis that blooms in late summer on new growth.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun.
  • Zones: 4 to 11.
  • Height: 8 to 12 ft. (2.4 – 3.6 m).

Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

Clematis ‘Blue Angel’

The clematis ‘Blue Angel’ produces delightful light lilac or lavender blooms consisting of four or five papery petals in the shape of a star. When blooming late in the season, the free-flowering climbing vine becomes a mass of ruffled lavender-blue flowers that persist for several weeks. These pale lavender flowers provide a nice contrast with the small, leathery clematis leaves.

  • Clematis flower color: Pale lavender-blue or lilac.
  • Bloom time: Early summer to early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full to partial sun.
  • Zones: 4 to 9.
  • Height: 10 to 15 ft. (3 – 4.5 m)

Clematis ‘Ernest Markham’

Clematis ‘Ernest Markham’

Clematis ‘Ernest Markham’

The ‘Ernest Markham’ climbing clematis is identified by its vivid magenta flowers with velvety-smooth ruffled petals. The beautiful feature of these deep red clematis blooms is the contrasting tuft of yellowish stamens in the flower’s center. The eye-catching dark red flowers with the light green lanceolate leaves create beautiful floral displays climbing over arbors, trellises, walls, or fences.

  • Clematis flower color: Deep burgundy or magenta red.
  • Bloom time: Midsummer to early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Zones: 4 to 11.
  • Height: 10 to 12 ft. (3 – 3.6 m).

Clematis ‘Fond Memories’

Clematis ‘Fond Memories’

Clematis ‘Fond Memories’

The beautiful star-shaped clematis flowers on the ‘Fond Memories’ hybrid consist of creamy-white petals with a purple-pink tinge and delicate rosy-lavender outline. The centerpiece of the pinkish-white flower is a deep reddish-purple tuft of stamens. The long-blooming clematis flowers emerge in early summer and measure up to 7” (18 cm) across.

  • Clematis flower color: Pinkish-white with a distinct dark pink pencil outline.
  • Bloom time: From clematis group 3, the flowers bloom from early summer to early fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun.
  • Zones: 6 to 10.
  • Height: 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 cm).

Clematis Vines with Small Flowers (with Pictures) – Identification

Small-flowered clematis vines are identified by their small star or bell-shaped or drooping tubular flowers with recurved petals creating a showy floral display. The deciduous climbers with small flowers are also characterized by hardy foliage, sweet fragrances, tolerance of cold, and profuse blooming from mid-spring through late summer. The small, vividly-colored clematis fragrant flowers brighten up any garden.

Clematis ‘Apple Blossom’

Clematis ‘Apple Blossom’

Clematis ‘Apple Blossom’

The clematis ‘Apple Blossom’ cultivar has stunning pale pink or white almond-scented flowers. Each white clematis flower has four to six slender rounded petals creating a cross or star shape. The pinkish-white flowers contrast with the red stems and clematis leaves — long, waxy, leathery evergreen leaves. The fast-growing vigorous clematis vines produce blooms 2” (5 cm) in diameter.

  • Clematis flower color: White with a pinkish tinge.
  • Bloom time: Early spring.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun.
  • Zones: 7 – 11.
  • Height: 20 to 40 ft. (6 – 12 m) long and wide.

Clematis ‘Frankie’

Clematis ‘Frankie’

Clematis ‘Frankie’

The Clematis ‘Frankie’ blooms with masses of bell-shaped, purple-blue-colored nodding flowers. The bluish flowers dangle from fuzzy stems and have slightly recurved petals. The small, delightful clematis flowers are around 2” (5 cm) in diameter. The Clematis ‘Frankie’ is identified by its slender green leaves with toothed margins.

  • Clematis flower color: Medium purple-blue to lavender with pale blue edges.
  • Bloom time: Mid-spring to late spring.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun or partial sun.
  • Zones: 3 to 9.
  • Height: 6 – 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 m).

Clematis ‘Virginiana’

Clematis ‘Virginiana’

Clematis ‘Virginiana’

The Clematis ‘Virginiana’ is a perennial, rapid-growing climbing plant with aromatic pure white flowers and leathery green leaves with toothed margins. The climbing vine uses tendrils to attach to structures. This clematis cultivar is ideal for ground cover in full sun without support. The climber also goes by the name woodbine, virgin’s bower, or old man’s beard.

The small white, cross-shaped clematis flowers measure 1.25” (3 cm) in diameter and emit a sweet-smelling, glorious fragrance.

  • Clematis flower color: Brilliant white.
  • Bloom time: The fall.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade.
  • Zones: 3 to 8.
  • Height: 12 to 20 ft. (3.6 – 6 m).

Purple Pitcher’s Leather Flower Clematis

Clematis 'Pitcheri'

Clematis ‘Pitcheri’

Also called Clematis pitcheri, the leatherflower clematis has dark purple flowers with recurved white tips. The nodding clematis bell-shaped flowers look somewhat like tiny dangling tulips. The small purple clematis flowers grow profusely among heart-shaped waxy compound leaves growing in groups of three. The urn-shaped leatherflower clematis blooms measure 1” (2.5 cm) long.

  • Clematis flower color: Purple and white.
  • Bloom time: Late spring through early summer.
  • Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Zones: 5 to 9.
  • Height: 4 to 7 ft. (1.2 – 2.1 m) and up to 3 ft. (1 m) wide.

Learn how to grow and care for clematis.

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