Can Wisteria Grow In Tropical Climate

Wisteria vines can withstand a wide range of environmental factors, but the majority of types struggle in zones below USDA 4 to 5. Wisteria plants in Zone 3 were a bit of a pipe dream because these beloved plants of temperate climates often died during the cold, prolonged winters. Zones 3 to 9 are favorable for Kentucky wisteria, a chance hybrid that can be found in the swampy regions of south central United States from Louisiana and Texas north to Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. In the cooler location, it even consistently produces flowers.

Japanese and Chinese wisteria are the two varieties grown most frequently. Chinese wisteria is appropriate down to zone 5, whereas Japanese wisteria is a little more hardy and thrives in zone 4. The Kentucky wisteria is descended from the American wisteria, Wisteria frutescens.

The plants naturally grow in highland thickets, riverbanks, and marshy woodlands. While Kentucky wisteria may flourish as low as zone 3, American wisteria is hardy only to zone 5. Wisteria can be grown well in zone 3 thanks to a number of novel cultivars that have been released. Compared to its Asian counterparts, Kentucky wisteria is less pushy and more well-mannered. Even after severe winters, it regularly blooms in the spring with slightly smaller flowers.

In USDA zone 3, Wisteria macrostachya, another plant, has also demonstrated its dependability. It is marketed under the name “Summer Cascade.”

The best wisteria vines for zone 3 are Kentucky wisteria plants. Even a few cultivars are available for selection.

A Minnesotan cultivar named “Blue Moon” sports tiny, fragrant clusters of periwinkle blue flowers. In June, vines can reach lengths of 15 to 25 feet and bear racemes of fragrant, pea-like blooms that are 6 to 12 inches long. These zone 3 wisteria bushes then develop 4–5 inch long, velvety, soft pods. The plant’s delicate, pinnate, dark green leaves on twining stalks only add to its allure.

The aforementioned “Summer Cascade” has racemes of delicate lavender blooms that are 10 to 12 inches long. Other varieties include “Clara Mack,” which has white blooms, and “Aunt Dee,” which has lovely antique lilac flowers.

Wisteria — is it a tropical plant?

Wisteria sinensis, often referred to as Chinese Wisteria, is a tropical climbing vine that may reach heights of up to thirty feet (9 meters) and bears flower clusters that are between six and one foot long.

The stems are twined against the clock. It attracts bees, butterflies, and birds and is indigenous to China.

Violet-blue, mildly scented wisteria blossoms open all at once before the leaves has even fully developed. A long, green, flattened pod is the fruit.

The smooth-textured, alternating, pinnately complex leaves of the vine climb using twining stems. Early to mid-May is when the flowers put on their most spectacular display.

The ideal way to cultivate Wisteria sinensis is with some kind of support, including wires, trellises, arbors, and pergolas. If the right supports are provided, such as rows of strong, rust-resistant wire placed four to six inches from the wall, solid, vertical surfaces can be employed.

When the vine is staked in an upright posture, wisteria can also be grown in the shape of a tree. When it reaches the desired height, cut off the top (typically four to five feet tall). While continuing to prune lower stem shoots, let side branches grow on the upper portion of the wisteria tree.

When the top reaches the required size, cut the side branches in winter to a length of six inches to one foot.

What kind of climate does wisteria grow in?

It is well known that wisteria take a very long time to bloom. For two to three years after planting, don’t anticipate blossoms. Some readers swear by the following technique to encourage blooming:

  • To cut into part of the roots, take a shovel and drive it 8 to 10 inches into the ground approximately a foot and a half away from the main trunk of the wisteria.
  • Approximately half of the roots should be damaged for the shrub to be shocked into reproduction (flowering).
  • Don’t worry—impossible it’s to harm this unchecked, unwieldy, frequently invasive shrub!
  • The flowers of wisteria can also be impacted by chilly winter temperatures.

Native Wisteria

Consider growing a wisteria species that is indigenous to North America if you live there, such as:

  • Wisteria frutescens, also known as American wisteria, thrives in zones 5 through 9. Its original states span from Virginia to Texas, the southeast to Florida, and up into New York, Iowa, and Michigan in the north. The vine is 25 to 30 feet long, has glossy, dark-green leaves, and after the plant has begun to leaf out, develops huge, drooping clusters of lilac or purple-blue flowers. Only new wood will display the blossoms. Notably, the blossoms are typically less aromatic than those of Asian wisterias.
  • In zones 4 to 9, Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya) flourishes. Similar to American wisteria, this late-bloomer is a native of the Southeast of the United States (it is sometimes considered a variety or subspecies of American wisteria). The Kentucky wisteria is the quickest to blossom, bearing faintly fragrant bluish-purple flowers after only two to three years of growth.
  • A gorgeous, silvery-blue cultivar of the native Kentucky wisteria called “Blue Moon” is particularly hardy. In late spring or early summer, it blooms. It can go as chilly as -40F. (-40C).

Non-Native Wisteria

  • Despite the fact that they are frequently marketed at nurseries and garden centers, Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) are non-native, invasive species, hence we do not suggest them for North American gardens. They can reach lengths of 30 to 60 feet and are hardy in Zones 5 to 9. (and beyond in the Southern U.S.). Japanese wisteria comes in two popular kinds, including:
  • Popular plant known as “Honbeni” displays clusters of pink flowers in the late spring.
  • “Alba” (also known as “Shiro Noda”) yields beautiful clusters of snow-white flowers in the late spring.

Are Wisteria Toxic to Pets and Humans?

Yes, the wisteria plant contains lectin and wisterin, which are poisonous to people, animals, and even pets. If taken in significant quantities, these poisons can result in anything from nausea and diarrhea to death.

If pets or young children frequent the area, it is a good idea to remove the seedpods after the plant has flowered because the material is particularly concentrated in the seeds and seedpods. Unaware children or animals won’t think twice about eating as many seedpods as they can because they are not unpleasant to taste or have an instant effect. In case of ingestion, contact your neighborhood poison control center.

What environmental factors favor wisteria?

Wisterias thrive in full light, fertile soil, and both. Of the 10 species, three are grown the most frequently: Wisteria brachybotrys, Wisteria sinensis, and Wisteria floribunda, which are native to China, Japan, and the eastern United States (silky wisteria). All three species have significant growth rates and can extend out to a maximum of 20 meters (66 feet) against a wall or around 10 meters (33 feet) in trees. Wisteria can also be trained to grow as a free-standing standard in a big container or border.

Wisterias for pergolas and arches

The Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) is best exhibited hanging down from a garden structure like a pergola or arch since it has the longest flower sprays (or racemes) of all the species. They entwine in a clockwise motion while simultaneously bearing blooms and leaves. Lilac blue blooms and racemes as long as 1.2 meters (4 feet) are produced by Wisteria floribunda f. multijuga AGM in the early summer.

Wisterias for walls

Wisteria sinensis, often known as Chinese wisteria, blooms in the springtime before the leaves do. For example, Wisteria sinensis ‘Amethyst’ AGM has violet blue blooms with a reddish flush produced in dense racemes to 30cm (1ft) long in late spring or early summer. They twine anticlockwise and the racemes are shorter so they are best presented against a wall.

Silky wisteria (Wisteria brachybotrys), which can be grown against walls or on pergolas, with downy leaves and small racemes of 10-15cm (4-6in). White flowers with center yellow markings, a strong perfume, and 10-15 cm tall sprays of wisteria brachybotrys f. albiflora ‘Shiro-kapitan’ AGM bloom in the spring and early summer.

If you want to cultivate a wisteria in a big container

It is best to choose Wisteria fructens ‘Amethyst Falls’ because of its compact habit and rich clusters of lilac-blue blooms.

Always choose a wisteria that has been developed from cuttings or by grafting when purchasing one because seed-raised wisterias flower less consistently and take longer to bloom. The graft union should be seen as a swelling close to the stem’s base. Unlike species, named cultivars are virtually always grafted. Purchase your wisteria in flower or go with a specific cultivar to avoid disappointment.

Wisterias are offered for sale as container-grown plants at garden centers and online, and you can use the RHS Find a Plant tool to locate particular cultivars.

Wisteria should ideally be planted between October and April. Wisterias grown in containers can be planted at any time of the year, but fall and winter are the easiest times to maintain. Give them healthy, well-drained soil to plant in.

Wisterias bloom best in full sun, so pick a wall or pergola that faces south or west. Although blossoming will be diminished, they will still grow in light shade.

Wisterias are robust climbers that can grow to a height and width of more than 10 meters (33 feet). You’ll need to give support in the form of wires, trellises, or outside buildings like pergolas or arches against a wall. Wisteria can also be grown up a support or taught up a tree to create a standard. A wisteria can be grown in a border or container by being trained into a standard, which reduces its vigor.

If you want to grow your wisteria in a container, you’ll need a sizable one that is at least 45 cm (18 in) in diameter and is filled with potting soil with a loam basis, like John Innes No. 3.

Feeding

Use Growmore or Fish, Blood and Bone on your wisteria in the spring at the suggested rate listed on the packet. Additionally, apply sulphate of potash at a rate of 20g per sq m (1/2 oz per sq yard) on sandy soils (which have low potassium levels). Fertilizers for flowering shrubs or roses are another option.

Feed wisteria in containers using Miracle-Gro, Phostrogen, or another comparable flowering plant food. A different option is to add controlled-release fertilizer to the compost.

Although wisteria has a reputation for being challenging to prune, this is untrue. Once you’ve made it a habit to prune your wisteria twice a year, you should be rewarded with a pleasing flower show.

When you prune regularly, you reduce the excessive, whippy growth from July and August to five to six leaves, or roughly 30 cm (1ft). This increases the possibility of blossom buds budding and permits the wood to ripen. Then, in February, trim these shoots even more to two or three buds, or around 10 cm (4 in), to tidy up the plant before the growing season starts and make it possible to observe the new flowers.

When your juvenile wisteria has completely covered a wall or other garden structure, start the routine pruning to promote flowering.

Small gardens benefit greatly from the training of wisteria as a free-standing standard in a border or container.

Wisteria can be trained to ascend into a tiny tree’s canopy, however doing so could eventually harm the tree. Pruning will be challenging if the plant develops into a huge tree, and a dense leaf canopy will affect flowering.

Increase your wisteria stocks by layering in the summer, taking softwood cuttings in the spring to mid-summer, or taking hardwood cuttings in the winter since seed-raised wisteria can take up to 20 years to flower.

Wisteria is typically propagated via grafting in professional nurseries, however layering is the simplest and most dependable technique for home gardeners.

Established wisteria can produce hanging, bean-like seedpods after a lengthy summer. While wisteria plants grown from seeds are typically of inferior quality, you might want to try growing wisteria yourself.

  • After the leaves have fallen, gather the seedpods and let them ripen in an open tray.
  • When the seed is ready, twist open the pod and sow it 2 cm (3/4 in) deep in seed compost.
  • Before planting if the seed is dry, soak it for 24 hours.

See our commonly asked questions page for a summary of wisteria issues.

Poor flowering

Poor flowering is the most frequent issue for backyard gardeners, and it can be brought on by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Young plants can take up to 20 years to flower, so acquire a plant that is already in bloom or go with a certain cultivar because they are typically grafted to avoid disappointment.
  • Examine your pruning methods and timing because early and midsummer trimming will prevent the growth of flowers the next year.
  • Wisteria flowers best in broad light; deep shadow produces few, if any, flowers.
  • Water your wisteria during periods of drought from July to September because a lack of water during this time will influence the development of flower buds the next year.
  • Flower buds may drop before opening as a result of spring frosts, which can harm or deform growing flowers.
  • Applying sulphate of potash in the spring will encourage bloom production for the next year in soils that may lack potassium.
  • The damage caused by pigeons or mice can be identified by torn petals or distinctive teeth marks.

Other problems

A mature, seemingly robust wisteria will occasionally pass away and be replaced by a new, healthy branch emerging from the ground. Failure of the wisteria graft may be the reason of this.

Wisteria is sensitive to both of the fungi that cause phytophthora root rot and honey fungus, which are less frequent causes of failure.

Unusual brown blotches and marks on the leaves, typically with a yellow edge, may be a sign that a fungus has infected them. Viruses can also harm wisteria and powdery mildew.

Infestations of scale and, less frequently, wisteria scale can affect wisterias.

While we hope this information may be useful to you, we always advise reading the labels on your plants that provide care instructions.

Will wisteria bloom in a tropical climate?

Although Japanese or Chinese wisterias are incredibly lovely plants, they do have certain drawbacks. They shed their leaves in the winter, which some gardeners dislike, and they don’t really go with native Australian planting designs. The good news is that Millettia megasperma, a native of the rainforests of northern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland, is a superb substitute for foreign wisterias.

Plant details

Common name: Wisteria native Name of the plant: Millettia megasperma Evergreen climber with vigorous scrambling. It has compound leaves with seven to thirteen glossy, dark green leaflets. From late winter to early spring, dense racemes of large white to purple pea-shaped flowers are produced. The best climates are in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the tropics, while Perth and Adelaide in the interior regions are worth a go.