Clematis ‘Kaiu’

Family: Ranunculaceae

I absolutely adore Clematis ‘Kaiu’; this plant’s pretty bell-shaped flowers look as if they were created for a flower fairy!  These gorgeous blooms are white in colour, they’re enhanced by a dusting of mauve from above, which only serves to heighten this plant’s beauty.  This is such a pretty climber with so much going for it, as Clematis ‘Kaiu’ is blessed with a long flowering season.  My ‘Kaiu’ begun flowering in June and the blooms are fading now in September.  ‘Kaiu’ produces dainty little blooms that are small in size but new flowers are produced regularly, throughout the summer.

This is a Clematis that’s easy to accommodate.  Plants grow up to around 2.5m (8ft) tall.  My Clematis ‘Kaiu’ is happily growing along hooks and wire I’ve distributed at regular intervals long my fence.  My plant has stretched around 2.5m (8ft) wide, with the occasional stem reaching a bit further afield into my ivy hedge.  ‘Kaiu’ can be grown over small arches, up obelisks, or used to climb walls or fences.  This is not a dense or heavyweight climber that can be used to make a fence or wall disappear from view; Hedera helix would be a better choice for these situations.  In my garden, Clematis ‘Kaiu’ has formed a delicate but elegant semi-sheer cloak to filter my view of our garden fence in summertime, and punctuate the summer months with an abundance of these darling bell-shaped, fairy flowers.

Clematis ‘Kaiu’ flourishes in the sunshine.  Plant this Clematis in a lovely bright position where it can bask in the sunshine.  Plants will also be content to grow in a partially shaded area, but I’ve not tried this climber in a shady position.

My Clematis ‘Kaiu’ is planted in my garden’s free-draining, sandy soil.  I don’t water my plants very often, (if at all) as I dedicate my energy into running my various Garden Trials, but this hasn’t phased my Clematis at all.  However, I’d always recommend watering any Clematis before and after planting and at regular intervals, during the first year after planting.  These plants take at least a couple of years to become fully acquainted with their new home, so don’t expect too much in your plant’s first year, and don’t take an absence of growth personally.  In your plant’s second, third, and continuing years, Clematis ‘Kaiu’ will repay any kindness you’ve shown it a hundred times over.

This is a Group 3 Clematis.  ‘Kaiu’ flowers in summer on stems that are produced the same year.  Accordingly, it’s best to prune Clematis ‘Kaiu’ early in the year, (in February or March) to cut out and remove the stems that won’t hold flowers and create space for this year’s new growth and the plant’s coming blooms.  It may look drastic but I promise you this step is beneficial and is not in any way harmful to your plant.  Take a deep breath, and use a clean pair of sharp secateurs to cut back Clematis ‘Kaiu’ to a pair of healthy buds around 15-30cm (6inches-1ft) above the ground.  The plant material you remove can be twisted around and used to make a pretty spring wreath if you like, or add the old growth to the compost heap, if you prefer.  I like to weed the ground around my Clematis and then mulch around my plants after pruning; spreading a generous helping of homemade compost or good quality, peat-free compost over the soil around my plant.

Clematis ‘Kaiu’ was bred by Eerich Prano, who named this plant ‘Kaiu’ after the his home town in Estonia.  This is a Viorna hybrid; it’s a hardy plant that’s perennial and flowers reliably every year.

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