Clematis is a famous climbing vine. All varieties bear beautiful flowers. Some also add a delicious fragrant scent to their blooming! Here are a few of the best fragrant clematis vines.
Clematis vines are fragrant, but their strength of their scent depends on many factors. For most varieties, the only way to clearly smell their perfume is to stick your nose in the flower! Luckily, some species and varieties have a more heady, wide-spreading fragrance.
Clematis x aromatica, the clematis with the strongest scent
This dark-flowered clematis has a strong scent that reminds one of vanilla with a touch of orange. It’s a hybrid of two lesser-known species, C. flammula and C. integrifolia. It appeared in France in the mid-19th century and has been in cultivation ever since.
Part of the small-flowered clematis group, flowers rarely exceed 2 inches across (5 cm). Deep violet petals open up to reveal a cluster of ivory-cream scented stamens. Great for growing in pots. Must be protected from freezing in winter.
- Blooming period: June through September
- Height: not a good climber, peaks at 6 feet / 2 meters tall
- Scent: vanilla, orange
Clematis viticella ‘Betty Corning’, a hardy and drought-tolerant summer bloomer
Thought to also include Clematis crispa parentage, the ‘Betty Corning’ clematis bears abundant scented bell-shaped flowers. Pale at the beginning of the season, hues darken as temperatures rise. Discovered by Elizabeth Corning in 1932.
Flowers form cute bells, with petals curling upwards as the flower ages. Can survive drought for several weeks, but flowers best if watered. Copes with freezing well.
- Blooming period: June to September
- Height: more a shrub than a climbing vine, peaks at 9 feet / 3 meters tall
- Scent: sweet, rose-like
Clematis x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’, heavy bloomer and heady scent
This clematis bears hundreds of flowers. Each releases a strong scent similar to the taste of almonds. An excellent climber, it can cover walls if given a trellis to latch on to. Hybrid, reportedly, of C. flammula and C. viticella, discovered like the aromatica around 1860.
Flowers are small, only about an inch across (2-3 cm), but they’re strongly scented. Four narrow petals are white towards the center and pastel purple at the curved tips. Hardy.
- Blooming period: June, July and August
- Height: towers to 20 feet / 6 meters tall
- Scent: almondy
Clematis armandii ‘Apple blossom’, a fragrant evergreen clematis
Like other Clematis armandii, the ‘Appleblossom’ cultivar releases an almond-like scent. Now produced by major horticulture companies, it’s easily available.
Flowers are like upside-down crocus blossoms, a fresh pastel pink hue. Thick, lanceolate leaves are dark green and droop down, giving this excellent climber a willow-like appearance even in winter since leaves stay on the vine.
- Blooming period: June, July and August
- Height: climbs up to 25 feet / 8 meters
- Scent: almond-like, marzipan
Clematis montana ‘Mayleen’, a strong-scented Mountain clematis
C. montana varieties are among the most fragrant, together with cultivars of the armandii species listed above. Still, a few champions have a unique scent, among them the ‘Mayleen’.
Each flower has four soft, pinkish petals that overlap slightly as they unfurl. Leaves are trifoliate, and each leaflet has a couple serrations near its tip. If allowed to dangle from an arbor, it’ll bless you with a waterfall of flowers!
- Blooming period: May and June, sometimes July
- Height: reaches 30 feet / 10 meters
- Scent: vanilla
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’, a citrus-y scented winter clematis
This family is unique in that it blooms in winter. Not all C. cirrhosa cultivars are fragrant, but the ‘Jingle Bells’ has a light, tangy citrus-like smell that appears on mature flowers.
Four pristine white petals open up under each flower, hanging down like little bells. Also nice in pots, it’s a slow grower that only needs pruning if it gets in the way. The photo here was taken just days before Christmas. A fitting garden ornament, don’t you think?
- Blooming period: December, January, February
- Height: reaches 12 feet / 3 meters
- Scent: light, lemony scent