About Virgin's Bower: This lovely vine is one of several wild American varieties of clematis, though around four hundred native species grow worldwide. In its natural habitat, it can usually be found trailing over tree branches and shrubs in moist woodland or along riverbanks. The genus name Clematis comes from the Ancient Greek, meaning “a climbing plant.”
Virgin's Bower Germination: In late winter, mix the seed with moist sand and keep it in the refrigerator for 60-90 days. Plant the seeds ¼” deep in individual peat pots and move them to a 60-65 degrees F location until they sprout, keeping the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Transplant the seedlings when they reach a height of several inches and there is no chance of frost. Alternatively, untreated seed can be planted directly into peat pots, kept in a cold location all winter, and moved to 60 degrees F in the spring for sprouting. This plant prefers moist, rich soils and will tolerate clay; it does not grow well in rocky or coarse soil.
Growing Virgin's Bower Seeds: Water seedlings regularly until they become established, but mature plants only in dry weather. This vine grows well on fences, wires, trellises, or other narrow structures. It will act as a thick, matted ground cover if given no support. In the spring, prune the stems to within 4 feet from the ground for for thick and branching growth; the stems may also be pruned throughout the season. This vine will reseed itself abundantly and can be aggressive in good growing conditions. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
Harvesting Virgin's Bower: For fresh flowers, cut the stems long and place them in water immediately. Keep in mind that this plant can be toxic to humans, as well as causing blistering and irritation.
Saving Virgin's Bower Seeds: As the flowers fade, they will develop feathery seed heads similar to dandelion heads. These heads will turn from green to white, with seeds that ripen to brown at the center. Though they will last for months, the seed heads should be harvested promptly since they are a favorite food of songbirds. Gather the heads, separating the fluff from the husks. Save the seed with or without the feathery attachment, which will not affect germination. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Virgin's Bower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Devil's Darning Needles, Ladies' Bower, Traveler's Ivy, Love Vine, Wild Hops, Woodbine, Old Man’s Beard Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 15-20 feet Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4b-8b Seeds Per Oz: 14,800 Produces a vine with 4" pointed trifoliate leaves and clusters of fragrant white 1” flowers that mature into fluffy seedheads.