Clematis 'Pink Champagne' aka 'Kakio'

"My thoughts do twine & bud
About thee, as wild vines, about a tree."

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning


'Pink Champagne' or 'Kakio' was bred by Kazushige Ozawa-san, one of the world's most famous clematis hybridizers, & introduced to gardeners in 1971. Another of his creations is called Clematis integrifolia x reticulata'Rooguchi' (sometimes rendered Roguchi or Rouguchi) which I mention only as a reminder to myself to get that one, too, just as soon as I spot it offered locally, as it has quite a unique flower, shaped like a large deeply ribbed dangling blue-violet bell.

Mr. Ozawa crossed two earlier cultivars to arrive at 'Kakio,' these being 'Star of India' (bred in England), pollinated by 'Crimson King' (likewise an English creation, one of George Jackman's famous varieties). It is sometimes said to be of the "Patens Group" which seems over time to have become a generic designation for clematis developed in Japan rather than just those actually descended from the Japanese C. patens. Tracking the species backward through its complicated lineage, 'Kakio' is a mix of China's C. lanuginosa on it's "mother's" side & C. jackmanii on the pollinator's side (though note C. jackmanii is not a natural species form, so that the heritage of 'Kakio' includes even more species, including but not restricted to the European C. integrifolia, & the Italian C. viticella, but not C. patens.)

We originally had our 'Kakio' climbing a home-made trellis & the raingutter's drain pipe in a miniature rockery at the foot of the deck steps, where it bloomed twice its first year, May through June, then again for August & September. The above photo of the deep purple bloom was taken mid-August. In colder zones than ours, the second bloom period might be skipped.

The seven to eight inch blossoms on this cultivar vary from plant to plant, ranging from rose-pink to rose-purple, depending on soil conditions, sun exposure, & so forth. Ours has bloomed to the darker side of the scale. It's a relatively small vine climbing to only eight feet, & becomes very densely leafed.

Clematis Seed The seeds are two-inch globes of curls of mauve & gold, almost as gorgeous as the flowers. The second photo shows one of these in September. Regarding these seeds as practically blossoms themselves, in terms of their charm, it means these vines have something lovely on them almost to the edge of Autumn.

This vine had been receiving full morning sun against a bright white wall, which seemed to exhaust it. I added two miniature shrubs around its base to shade the roots better, as clematis roots in particular hate to be overheated. I eventualy decided it just wasn't a good location visually & for the vine's preferences, so I moved it to the fence line where its root crown is completely shaded, but where it was able to quickly vine upward into bright sunlight. Fortunately I was able to get the entire rootclump since it had only been in place one year, & I was able to move with it the home-made trellis which it had filled up. So its move was seamless & unstressful & called for very little pruning. Since the blooms occur on the previous year's growth, I didn't want to prune anything but bits that had suffered from overheating in the first location.

Extremely cold-hardy (minus 30 to minus 20 F.), but sensitive to heat, ours was a little fragile its first year in the ground, forcing me often to prune off homely patches of drying vines. The pruning always revitalized it, but limited the number of flowers, & would mean fewer flowers the next year too. It probably would have adapted without my having moved it, but I prefer the new location by far, & I believe the clematis will like the location better too.


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