Clematis Kiri Te Kanawa

Clematis ‘Kiri te Kanawa’ – care and pruning

Categories: purple clematis varieties, 2 pruning group, large-flowered, double-flowered

Clematis ‘Kiri Te Kanawa’ impresses with large terry flowers of a deep purple color. Even on the shoots of the current year, this clematis often blooms with terry flowers, which is quite rare.

Description and Characteristics

Group Early flowering large-flowered clematis
Pruning Group 2 (weak pruning)
Plant height 2…3 meters
Leaves Mostly triple, green, often with very broad heart-shaped leaflets, but for some reason not always
Flowering On shoots of the last year, then on shoots of the current year
Flowering time If last year’s shoots survived – at the end of May-June, repeatedly – starting from the second half of July
Flowers Large, 10…15 cm across, semi-marginal and terry.
Sepals Large number, the lower ones are 4.5…7 cm long and 2.5…4 cm wide. Sepals are broadly oval, almost rounded, with pointed tip and slightly wavy edge, slightly bent along the center line.
Sepals coloration Purple
Stamen coloration Stamen filaments white, anthers yellow


The clematis variety ‘Kiri Te Kanawa’ is named after the famous soprano opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa, who is half Maori – that’s why she chose this nickname. The clematis was created by British breeder Barry Fretwell by crossing ‘Beauty of Worcester’ and ‘Chalcedony’ clematis. This was in 1986. Thus, the variety is not new, but not too old either.


How to care for clematis “Kiri te Kanawa”

    1. How it winters. Overwinters in conditions in Michigan and warmer states is not bad, often manages to save last year’s shoots, but even if not, Kiri Te Kanava still blooms well.
    2. The best time for planting. Early fall, when the air and soil become cooler.
    3. Acceptable time to plant. Early spring.
    4. Undesirable time for planting. Late spring and summer, only transplanting with a clump of soil is acceptable.
    5. Light Requirements. Full lighting with shade in the summer midday hours, light shade is acceptable. In southern regions in the direct sun the flowers burn out strongly.
    6. Soil requirements. Light, well cultivated, with a high content of humus. A slightly alkaline pH is best, about 7.5. Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline is acceptable.
    7. How to prepare the planting hole. It is better in advance, large enough, about 50x50x50 cm. Fill the pit with a mixture of extracted earth with compost (1:1) or humus (2:1). In the mixture, add about 30 grams of double superphosphate. Do not put drainage at the bottom of the pit!
    8. Whether it is possible to deepen when planting. It is possible to burrow with the one-ripe part of the stem. If the plant is young, and there is no such part of the stem, it is not possible to deepen.
    9. How to water Clematis “Kiri te Kanawa”. Only in prolonged drought, abundantly (half a bucket for a young plant, a bucket for an adult), but rarely.
    10. How to feed. In the first year after planting do not feed, then – three times a season. Read more about feeding clematis.
    11. How to prune clematis “Kiri te Kanawa”. Pruning group is the second. In autumn, the shoots of the current year are cut at a height of about a meter above a pair of strong buds. The shoots of the previous year are cut at a height of 10…20 cm above a pair of strong buds to get branching
    12. How to girdle. Clematis ‘Kiri Te Kanawa’ clings to the support with its leaf petioles and is held securely on it. Gartering is only necessary to direct the shoots as you need them. It is best to use ropes made of natural materials.
    13. Covering for the winter. The shoots kept for the winter are bent to the ground, ideally it is better to put lapnik under them. Then on top also lay lapnik or something to hold the shape, then non-woven covering material and then polyethylene or other material that will prevent flooding. On the leeward side it is necessary to leave a small vent for ventilation.
    14. Diseases and pests. The main danger is the clematis wilt. Mealy mold, spotting and some leaf-eating insects are not dangerous.

    Reviews of clematis “Kiri Te Kanawa”

    • Michigan, near the Macomb: very abundant flowering, clematis literally studded with large flowers, beautiful color.
    • South Dacota: Kiri Te Kanawa blooms from July to the end of September very abundantly, the flowers are beautiful.
    • Wisconsin: for many years never managed to save shoots until spring, each time clematis grows from the root and blooms late.
    • Seattle: Kiri Te Kanawa blooms late, but blooms with terry flowers almost until autumn and is very beautiful, although the flowers are not very large.
    • Portland, OR: a good clematis, wintering well, growing quickly and blooming abundantly.
    • New Hampshire: clematis died of wilt in the second year.

    If you too have experience growing this clematis, please leave your feedback in the comments below. Any experience will be of interest to other readers.

About the author

Fedor Fironov
Graduate of Plant Protection Faculty at GSAU. Main area of interest – clematis, peonies and perennials of Lamiaceae .

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