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What Is the Meaning of the Clematis?

Image by, courtesy of Olivier

The clematis is a flowering, climbing plant grown for ornamental purposes. The clematis has a few different meanings, many of them connected to mental prowess.

Symbolic Meaning

The clematis symbolizes ingenuity or artifice, perhaps due to its seemingly clever climbing around trellises and walls. The clematis also means mental beauty.


Clematis is sometimes given as a female name in English-speaking regions. Clematis means flowering vine or branch in this context.


Clematis comes from the Greek work “klema,” which means “twig,” “shoot,” “branch” or “to break off.”

Other Languages

The words used for clematis in Russian and Bulgarian carry the additional meaning of “traveler’s joy,” which is not surprising since clematis travels as it climbs.


Clematis is pronounced kleh-MAT-is. If you want to meaningfully compliment someone by writing him a poem comparing him to a clematis, note that mantis, practice and solstice rhyme with clematis.

Clematis Blooming?

Clematis won’t bloom well in shade. Plant or transplant your clematis into rich, moisture-retentive, well-draining soil. Prepare the soil to a depth of 2 feet by mixing compost or composted manure with equal parts soil to create the conditions in which clematis thrive. Choose a slow-release, organic fertilizer with lower nitrogen content, such as 5-10-10. Apply it in late February or early March at the base of the plant and water it in. Mulching helps retain moisture, but clematis should receive at least 1 inch of water a week to thoroughly soak the root ball. The timing for pruning clematis vines is a factor in blooming, too, because they bloom on new growth. Cut all the stems just above a set of buds, to about 3 feet from the ground.

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