Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike’ or ‘Midnight Showers’

Clematis 'Warszawska Nike'

Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’: The Majestic Purple Climber

Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike,’ belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, is a remarkable flowering climber that showcases stunning purple blooms. This cultivar is known by various names, including Clematis Warszaw or Clematis Warszawa. In France, it is referred to as Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike,’ while in the United States, it is sometimes called Clematis ‘Midnight Showers.’ Its captivating flowers and historical significance make it a popular choice among gardeners.

Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ is named after the Warsaw Nike Monument, which commemorates the heroes of World War II in Poland. This cultivar was created by Stefan Franczak (1917-2005), a Polish Jesuit and renowned horticulturist specializing in Clematis breeding. The hybridization of Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ took place in 1966, combining the best traits of different Clematis varieties.

Growth Habit: This deciduous climber possesses a vigorous growth habit, capable of reaching heights of approximately 10ft or 3m. Its twining stems allow it to climb and cling to supporting structures, such as trellises, fences, or pergolas. As it grows, it adds vertical interest and a touch of elegance to the garden landscape.

Flower Characteristics: Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ produces exquisite, velvety purple flowers that captivate the viewer’s attention. The blossoms typically measure around 18cm or 7 inches in width, showcasing their grandeur. Each flower consists of six to eight sepals, which may reveal a subtle silvery hue on the underside, adding a delightful touch of contrast. The flowers are complemented by vibrant, bright yellow stamens, creating a visually striking and harmonious composition.

The flowering period of Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ extends from mid-summer to autumn, ensuring an extended display of its captivating blooms. The profusion of rich purple flowers adds a touch of splendor and allure to the garden, making it an excellent choice for creating vibrant and dynamic floral displays.

How to grow Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’:

Light and Exposure: Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ thrives in a location that receives ample sunlight or partial shade. While it can tolerate some shade, providing it with sufficient sunlight will result in healthier growth and more abundant flowering.

Soil Conditions: To ensure optimal growth and performance, plant Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ in moist, fertile, and humus-rich soil. Good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can be detrimental to the plant’s health. Additionally, keeping the roots cool by shading them with rocks or surrounding plants will promote vigorous growth.

Planting Depth: When planting, it is recommended to position the crown of the plant approximately 4cm or 2 inches below the soil surface. This practice encourages the development of additional shoots and promotes a robust and bushy growth habit.

Propagation Methods: Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ can be propagated through layering or semi-hardwood cuttings. Layering involves bending a flexible stem to the ground, burying a portion of it, and allowing it to develop roots. Semi-hardwood cuttings, taken during the appropriate season, can also be rooted to create new plants.

Potential Pests and Diseases:

While generally considered a relatively low-maintenance plant, Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ may encounter common pests such as aphids, caterpillars, or slime flux. Regular monitoring of the plant’s health and taking prompt action at the first sign of pest infestation or disease will help maintain its vitality.

Aphids: These tiny insects can cluster on the tender shoots and buds of Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike,’ sucking sap from the plant. To control aphids, you can spray a strong stream of water to dislodge them or use insecticidal soap as a natural remedy. Alternatively, beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings can help keep aphid populations in check.

Caterpillars: Certain caterpillar species, such as the cabbage white butterfly larvae, may feed on the leaves of Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike.’ Handpicking the caterpillars or using organic insecticides specific to caterpillar control can help manage their presence effectively.

Slime Flux: Slime flux is a bacterial disease that causes dark, foul-smelling ooze to seep from cracks or wounds in the tree trunk. While Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ is relatively resistant to this disease, proper wound management and ensuring good airflow around the plant can help prevent its occurrence. If slime flux is observed, it is best to consult with a professional arborist for appropriate treatment options.


Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ generally requires minimal maintenance once established. Regular watering during dry periods and applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant will help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Pruning is typically done in early spring before new growth emerges. Remove any dead or damaged stems and lightly trim the remaining growth to maintain a tidy and well-shaped appearance.

Landscape Use: With its striking purple flowers and vigorous climbing habit, Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ is an excellent choice for creating vertical interest in the garden. It can be trained to grow on trellises, fences, or pergolas, adding a touch of elegance and color to these structures. This cultivar also works well when allowed to ramble through large shrubs or small trees, creating beautiful combinations and enhancing the overall aesthetic of the landscape.

Clematis 'Warszawska Nike'
Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’


Beyond its horticultural value, Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ holds symbolic meaning. As a tribute to the Warsaw Nike Monument and the heroes of World War II, this cultivar represents resilience, strength, and remembrance. Incorporating it into your garden can serve as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made and the enduring spirit of those who fought for freedom.

By following these cultivation guidelines and paying attention to potential pests or diseases, you can successfully grow Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’ and enjoy its majestic purple blooms, climbing grace, and symbolic significance. This remarkable cultivar will undoubtedly become a focal point in your garden, captivating all who behold its beauty.

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