Virgin’s bower is a plant for wild areas, it can easily take over smaller gardens. It prefers moist soil, cool roots, and will grow in full sun or part shade–although it will flower more heavily in full sun. Clematis likes to have cool roots. Mulch, plant a ground cover or a smaller shrub or plants around the base to keep the roots cool.
Some people have a sensitivity to the compounds in the plant. Wear gloves when handling Virgin’s Bower to avoid the risk of a skin reaction.
Be gentle with the young stems as they can easily break. Provide support for the vines to climb on or let them scramble through and over neighboring plants and rocks. The plant never needs dividing. It blooms on new wood, so you won’t be reducing flowering by cutting out a few stems all the way to the ground in early spring to keep the plant within bounds.
The Cherokee used infusions of the root of virgin’s bower to treat kidney, stomach, and nervous ailments. Combined with milkweed, virgin’s bower was a remedy for backache. It is believed to have been an ingredient of the ceremonial “black drink” that the people took to purify themselves at the time of the first corn harvest in July or August.
The Iroquois applied a root powder or infusion to the lesions caused by venereal disease and drank a decoction of the stems to induce strange dreams and to relieve “burning kidneys.”
Herbalists at one time used a liniment of virgin’s bower to relieve skin eruptions and itching as well as prescribing a weak leaf infusion to treat insomnia, uterine diseases, and nervous headaches and twitching. They also recommended it as a tonic to stimulate urination and sweating. Very dilute preparations of some clematis species are used as homeopathic remedies.
As for using any medicinal wild plants, do your research!