Clematis vitalba: an easy-care climbing shrub

shrub with white flowers with many petals

shrub with many-petaled white flowers

The clematis vitalbaalso known as clematis, it is a species of shrub that is part of the family composed of the buttercups, from Europe. It consists of a climbing shrub which can grow to the same height as the trees, in addition to being notable for having a bark that is distinguished by detaching itself in strips. It has leaves composed of a fickle petiole and fragrant white flowers formed by 4 sepals (creating false petals).

Origin of the clematis vitalba

bush with white flowers

bush with white flowers

This shrub is native to Europe, mainly from France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, Hungary, southern Russia, the Netherlands, Albania, Ukraine, Romania, Macedonia, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria; just like north africaspecifically from northern Algeria and also from western Asia, specifically northern Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

It should be said that within the Iberian Peninsula it is possible to obtain it in most of the territory, either in wooded areas or boundaries and clearings, growing to a greater extent within calcareous and humid landsespecially in uncultivated land. In addition, it can be noted that it blooms in the middle of the warm season (that is, between July and August) around the northern hemisphere.

Clematis characteristics

The clematis vitalba It consists of a lively climbing plant, which is characterized by having a bark that can be pulled off in strips; It is a woody liana whose trunks are capable of growing with a diameter of approximately 10cm. Its leaves have sharp, ovate leafletsfew or quite trimmed and make use of other plants for the purpose of sustaining themselves.

Likewise, it should be mentioned that it has an abundant flowering; producing flowers of a pale tone and prominent stamens, which usually give off a slight aroma. In addition, its fruits stand out for being hairy and have long styles like down.

In the same way, the clematis is characterized by accompanying the larger-looking trees to a truly surprising height and when autumn arrives, the seeds are usually quite characteristic, along with extensive feathery edges. It also supposes a plant of simple implantationwith a vigorous and rapid growth when having a certain level of edaphic humidity.


The extracts that can be obtained through the aerial parts of this plant, have been used globally for the purpose of treat inflammatory processesfor example, the different kinds of rheumatism, as well as in order to lower the febrile states.

Clematis extract is characterized by being bitter and also irritating, as well as having vesicant and rubefacient properties, being considered bacteriostatic. Likewise, it must be said that because protoanemonin has the ability to be absorbed through percutaneous routecould potentially cause poisoning.

branch with flowers with kind of fluff

flowering branch with kind of fluff

And despite what many people tend to believe, the truth is that the ingestion of Clematis could cause not only intense diarrhea, but also kidney damage; Likewise, it can lead to acute intoxication which puts the individual’s life at risk.

In addition, it must be said that, although today it is in disuse due to the potential risks involved in its use, the truth is that the clematis vitalba continues to be used within the world of homeopathy as a tincture made from its leaves, stems and fresh fibers; being applied in the treatment of swollen glands, pustules, swollen testicles and gonorrhea.

And formerly, because of the vesicant power it has, it used to be used among beggars in order to cause ulcerations on their skin to induce the compassion of passersby; reason why also It became known as beggar’s weed.

In the same way, it should be noted that it is usually used in environmental restorations carried out around deciduous forests, humid thorn bushes, streams and river banks; as well as on slopes both in the sun and in half shade, which have some humidity. Likewise, within gardening it is often used as a climbing plant in order to lining riverbanks in places that are relatively humid and they have a support that allows them to climb.


Broadly speaking, it can be said that the clematis vitalba It stands out for being able to tolerate any kind of substrates. However, it is a shrub that mainly prefers deep soilsbut it should be noted that you do not need a floor that has a great drain and also perfectly supports severe pruning.

Either way, consists of a plant that requires fertile and humid soils in order to grow properly, which is why it is convenient to make sure to protect its roots through some other plant that provides sufficient shade.

Keep in mind that the clematis vitalba It should not be grown in a plastic pot, since it will not be able to protect its roots from the heat when summer arrives. So that the most appropriate materials will be wood, terracotta and / or stone.

It should be mentioned that it is a type of shrub that has great resistance to climatic changes and also to cold. In the case of this plant it is necessary to dig a large hole, the which thong is at least twice the width of the pot in which the plant is growing and also half its depth. And do not forget to place organic matter at its base.

white flowers of Clematis vitalba

white flowers of the Clematis vitalba

Regarding irrigation, it should be noted that during the summer it is essential to water it abundantly, because throughout this time it is usually in full growth. Likewise, it is worth mentioning that in their first year of life, instead of requiring a rich diet, the clematis requires plenty of water; For this reason, it is necessary to check the drainage holes in the pots and, if necessary, expand those that already exist in order to prevent waterlogging of their roots.

Likewise, it is necessary that before planting a little compost is applied around the soil; in this sense, bone meal may be helpful around the base of the clematis vitalbawhile it is in a growth phase.

In addition, it must be taken into account that the dosage has to be interrupted when the first buds with flowers are born and resume at the end of the flowering stage until the middle of August. However, in the case of late flowering specimens, it is essential wait until next spring to start dosing again.

Clematis vitalba: an easy-care climbing shrub

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