Clematis Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Clematis is a genus with around 300 different species under its umbrella. They are climbing plants that flower, and most originated in Japan and China, though they are hugely popular all over the world today. 


People gave the various different species of Clematis different names to reflect their various characteristics, but all the varieties share their love of climbing.

It is for this reason that this flowers symbolize ambition and travelling amongst other things. In the language of flowers, Clematis have also become synonymous with mental agility, wisdom, and even mischief.

RELATED: Periwinkle Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

What Does The Flower Mean?

The Clematis flower has many meanings, some are positive and some more negative. In Victorian flower language, it came to mean cleverness and mental agility due to its ability to adapt and seek out solutions in order to climb.

Many often gives it to someone in order to indicate that you appreciated their quick wit and intellectual conversation.

The fact that it cleverly clings onto buildings and other plants in order to reach for the sky symbolizes optimism, social mobility, ambition, and elevated rank.

However, it also squashes other flowers as it climbs, and is dangerous for humans and animals when consumed. For this reason, it also represent mischief, deception, and egotism in some situations.

Etymological Meaning Of The Flower

The word Clematis comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘climbing plant’, and also has links to the ancient Greek words for ‘sprout’ and ‘twig’. This is no doubt because of its tendency to break apart and grow tendrils as it climbs.

Of course, different species have many different nicknames over the years. These include: Traveller’s Joy, Old Man’s Beard, Virgin’s Bower, Pepper Vine, Vase Vine, Devil’s Darning Needle and Climbing Queen.

Symbolism Of The Clematis Flower

Safe Travels

Many often gifts Clematis flowers to travelers in order to wish them luck on their journeys. This is because it are expert climbers and can wriggle and navigate their way out of any tangle.

They use buildings, structures and other plants to climb up and up and always use the sunlight as their guide.

Clematis are never satisfied with staying in one place, and therefore are the perfect flower to give to travellers and wanderers. It is no surprise that some people nicknamed it ‘Traveller’s Joy.’

Ambition/Social Mobility

Since Clematis flowers are not content existing down in the flower bed with all the other groundlings, these flowers have come to symbolize ambition and social mobility.

They want to reach for the sky and fulfill their potential, and as such, are a great flower to give friends and family who have just received a promotion at work or who are feeling dissatisfied with their current situation. The nickname ‘Climbing Queen’ relates to this interpretation.

Mental Agility

Because the flowers can sprout tendrils and wrap themselves around other structures and plants in order to climb, they have come to symbolize mental agility and high intellect.

They are clever flowers that are adaptable and resilient, and they often appeal to those who recognize these traits in themselves. Some can give it to people who are embarking on academic studies, or who have achieved academic success. They are excellent graduation flowers.


RELATED: Petunia Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More


Clematis’ nickname ‘Old Man’s Beard’ is due to the fact that as its tendrils hang down from a height they look like the strands and tufts of a long beard. The wizard-like associations, particularly with white Clematis, then caused people to associate the plant with deep wisdom and experience.

The fact that it grow slowly and steadily over many years further enhanced this meaning. Unlike many beautiful flowers which bloom and then die, it become more beautiful and impressive with age.

The Devil

Clematis flowers have some associations with the devil. Some even nicknamed it ‘devil’s darning needle’. The needle reference could relate to their sharp, needle-like buds. Or, to the way that the tendrils thread themselves around other plants and structures as they grow.

Of course, they are also rather snake-like in the way they twist and wind around things. This could have contributed to the devilish associations. Despite all this, they are not strangling plants and are actually quite easy to control.

They do not tend to choke or smother other plants.

Flower Color Meanings

As there are so many different species and varieties of Clematis, their flowers come in all manner of colors and shades. The different colors represent different meanings, and often chosen specifically for that particular reason.

Blue Clematis

Blue Clematis range in shade from deep indigo blue, all the way through to powdery, light blue. These flowers associates with serenity, judgement and intellect, and they linked to the 5th Chakra which rules your throat and chest.

Turquoise and light blue Clematis particularly relate to your powers of communication and your interactions with others. Whereas deep, dark blue Clematis represent a more spiritual intellect rather than an academic intellect.

White Clematis

Just as white Clematis many referred to as ‘Old Man’s Beard’, so it follows that these flowers represent wisdom and maturity. They also connect to purity and clarity of mind. These flowers links to the 7th chakra which rules your superconsciousness.

In this way, white Clematis reflect deep self knowledge, philosophical enlightenment, and a spiritual affinity with the divine. They are particularly beautiful flowers to give to older generations as a way to celebrate their age, experience and inner knowledge.

Purple Clematis

Purple Clematis associates with elevated ranks within society. The color purple has long been linked to royalty and wealth, and since it loves to climb, it makes sense that these two meanings would converge. Purple Clematis relate to the 7th chakra, just as white Clematis do.

However, since purple is a combination of heady blue and earthly red, purple Clematis are reflective of philosophical divinity, rather than spiritual divinity. Great thinkers and intellectuals, poets and artists often feel an affinity with these flowers.

RELATED: Sunflower Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Pink Clematis

Pink Clematis are highly popular vase plants thanks to their gentle attractiveness and soft aesthetic. They are not the start of the bouquet, yet they compliment bigger, brighter flowers and help to show them off.

As such, pink clematis have come to represent loyalty and meaningful friendship. They are a great choice to add to an arrangement for a friend who appreciates understated beauty. They indicate that you appreciate someone’s sense of humor and company.

Orange Clematis

The color orange is linked to your 2nd chakra which is responsible for your bodily health and vitality. Orange Clematis flowers are incredibly vibrant and fresh looking, and are a perfect flower to select when wishing someone continued health and wellness.

They are also excellent choices for anyone spending time in hospital because they promote positive mental attitudes and encourage speedy recoveries. 

Yellow Clematis

Just like the sunshine they work so hard to reach, yellow Clematis are all about happiness, joy and positivity. They represent optimism and enthusiasm, and they are linked to your 3rd chakra which governs your self-confidence and how you assert yourself around others.

For anyone who needs a bit of a boost, or who has an event or occasion approaching where they need to feel confident and clear-headed, yellow Clematis are an excellent flower choice.

Red Clematis

Like so many red flowers, red Clematis have associations with passionate love and romance. This is because the color red is linked to your 1st, or ‘root’, chakra. Your root chakra governs the foundations of your life and aligns with your animal instincts, intuitions and impulses.

There is something very raw and real about red Clematis, and they are therefore a great choice of flower to give to someone you love or desire. They add depth and meaning to any Valentine’s bouquet, and they demonstrate a commitment to a lover that will be long-lasting and stimulating.

Candy-Striped Clematis

Candy-striped Clematis are very popular with horticulturalists and gardeners, and they represent fun and flamboyance. If you want to jazz up a birthday bouquet or a celebratory display, candy-striped Clematis will give tons of zing and energy! They symbolize exuberance and laughter.


RELATED: Pansy Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Clematis Flower

There are over 300 different species of Clematis, each with their own unique characteristics.

They are thought to have originated in China and Japan where they came to symbolize moral dignity, duty and prosperity. 

Also, they grow best in cool, moist, well-drained soil where they have at least 6 hours of exposure to the sunshine. Most species have woody stems which are pretty vulnerable and fragile until they are a few years of age. 

They tend to have tendrils and sprouts which grow out from the main stem in order to curl and cling onto other plants and structures. The cool weather species of Clematis tend to be deciduous in nature, whereas those that grow in hot climates tend to be evergreen.

They can live for around 25 years, and they bloom each summer except for in their first few years of life when they are still establishing themselves. Some varieties of Clematis actually bloom twice a year, in both spring and summer.

Special Occasions For The Flower

Clematis are an excellent flower to give to people who have completed a training course, academic qualification or career milestone. They are a particularly meaningful choice of graduation flower, and also work well as a gift to anyone who is about to embark on an intellectual journey.

Equally, if someone is leaving home or about to embark on a journey, these flowers make a wonderful parting gift. They are said to bring protection and good fortune to travellers, even if the journey is emotional rather than physical.

Clematis Flower Facts

  • Clematis flowers are related to daisies
  • It is possible to grow black Clematis flowers
  • Thanks to their flexible stems, Clematis are perfect for making wreaths and crowns

RELATED: Peony Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

Clematis Flower Uses

These days Clematis is regarded as an ornamental flower, which is used to add height and color to any garden, or to add length and drama to any arrangement. However, it used to be known as the Pepper Vine, and this is because Clematis seeds were once used as an alternative to black peppercorns.

When peppercorns were very expensive and difficult to get hold of, Clematis seeds were ground down and used to add a spicy seasoning to food. However, it was later discovered that Clematis is actually toxic when consumed in large quantities, and the tradition died out.

Clematis can cause ulcers and burning sensations, for both humans and animals, if eaten in too great a quantity. However, they are great for attracting pollinators to flower beds and gardens.

They are often planted specifically because their sweet aroma attracts important insects who then help to pollinate many other flowers and plants that the Clematis has wrapped itself around. Genius!

What Is The Symbolism Of A Clematis Flower Tattoo

Clematis flowers are popular tattoos because they are perfect for wrapping and winding down arms, wrists and legs. Their specific meaning is personal to each individual, however many people get Clematis tattoos to symbolize their determination, ambition and optimism for the future.

Due to its links to intellect and wit, lots of people choose Clematis tattoos to denote their own mental agility or a particular academic or professional achievement that they feel proud of. 

And, of course, Clematis tattoos are highly popular amongst travellers. They symbolize navigation, ingenuity, versatility, adaptability and protection. These are all things that are valued by those who are on the road. 

Final Thoughts

Clematis flowers come in so many vibrant and distinctive colors, and grow all over the world. They are a favorite with modern gardeners due to the height that they bring, and the insects and pollinators that they attract.

These flowers are smart, beautiful and packed with meaning, making them a perfect addition to any bouquet or display.

RELATED: Sweet Pea Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *