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Clematis vitalba - Old Man's Beard / Traveler's Joy

Clematis vitalba is a wild European species within the genus clematis. It blooms with very small, white, star-shaped flowers and is an exceptionally robust and healthy plant that develops giant vine-lianas, which makes it very interesting for building greening. Leafy, vital, and drought-resistant, clematis vitalba is often chosen for high greening projects, and can be used for concrete facades, poles, or masts (in street greening, for example). Clematis vitalba can provide accents and interesting contrasts in a "designed" or engineered environment. >>> Price

Flowers of clematis vitalba (wild form)
Flowers of clematis vitalba (wild form)

Requirements / Price

The location can be shaded to sunny; soil should be humus-rich and well drained. The plant is very heat resistant and watering is not necessary. Distance between plants should be 3 to 5 metres. >>> Price

Characteristics and Pruning

Petiole (leaf tendril) climber. Incredibly strong growth (up to 12 metres in height or more), also overhanging. Foliage from May to October, flowering rather unimpressive but long-lasting from July well into late autumn. Seed heads are beautiful and fine and are the inspiration for this clematis' common name-- 'old man's beard.' This clematis belongs to 'pruning group 3' -- must be cut down to 20 - 60 cm above the ground at the end of the year. When greening a taller facade, however, do away with intense pruning. Instead, the focus should be on building up or maintaining the framework/stem structure, which is shortened and thinned out every year. Clematis vitalba are extremely healthy and also highly drought-resistant!

Climbing Aids for the Facade

The trellis (cable system) should have a tight/close arrangement with grid spaces of about 30 to 50 cm: see the bottom of the page for suitable trellis shapes and sizes. When you intend to cultivate without regular pruning, the grid spaces can be larger (so, more spacious arrangements), which serve less as "climbing aids" and more as anchors for the trunk-stem structure that forms. The easy basic design is strong enough but the medium design allows for optimal development. For high trellises, use a heavy / massive trellis kit.

Suitable Wire Rope Trellis?

Click on the image to see which designs are compatible as a climbing aid with clematis vitalba.

Clematis vitalba - a real jungle liana!

Trunks just like a jungle liana...

'Traveller's Joy' (clematis vitalba) as street greenery on an office building

Clematis vitalba on an office building

Cascading clematis vitalba on a retaining wall

Clematis vitalba with overhanging growth

Clematis vitalba on steel wire rope

12 metre high clematis vitalba

Wall greening with clematis vitalba on a shopping centre

Shopping centre wall greened with cleamtis vitalba

Clematis vitalba growing on a mast; the supporting steel trellises are installed only up to half of the mast's height so that the shoots won't reach the electric wires at the top

Mast greening with clematis vitalba (Saxony)

Suitable wire rope systems for clematis vitalba

Please click on the graphics to see a detailed view of each design!

 = suitable         = partly suitable       = not suitable