A strong support structure, like this well-made pergola, is necessary for wisteria.
Wisteria can transform a landscape into a beautiful shade cover, privacy screen, or focal point in just a few years because to its climbing dexterity and quick growth habits. The long flower clusters of wisteria work best when trained to grow on pergolas, arbors, and other sturdy overhanging supports to provide a gorgeous floral canopy. Wisteria is also trained onto large trellises in Japan to create blooming tunnels in the spring. Wisteria can also be draped over garden benches or arched entryways, trained onto fences, stone walls, or wires fixed on those structures.
Even though you might be tempted, wisteria’s vice-like grasp will eventually strangle the tree even if you let it twine around the trunk. Wisteria can be trained to grow as a single-trunk, free-standing tree by staking the plant’s thick, woody stem to a strong post or 4-by-4 firmly planted in the ground. Remove all undesirable growth along the trunk as the plant matures, leaving only the top to continue to grow. Wisteria can be cultivated as a bonsai tree or in huge pots using the same methods on a smaller scale.
Make sure the system is strong whatever of the trellising technique you use. Use sturdy materials, such as strong metal tubing set in concrete or pressure-treated or rot-resistant wood beams, as wisterias will easily topple flimsy timber trellises. You should also avoid growing vines next to your house since they can encircle gutters and creep under siding.
Remember that moving wisteria later can be very challenging, if not impossible, once it has established itself. Because you might not be able to change your decision afterwards, carefully consider your planting location and design intention.
Can wisteria be grown next to a fence?
Plant the wisteria away from your privacy fence to prevent damage, or add additional support in the form of a sturdy trellis or arbor that is firmly anchored into the ground. Some galvanized wires should be added for the wisteria to climb on. Early training and periodic pruning of wisterias are necessary to keep up their health and shape. The wisteria is less prone to harm fences if you regularly prune it to keep it in check.
Wisteria can it climb a fence?
The beautiful perennial climber wisteria dazzles each spring with a luxuriant explosion of blossoms in hues of purple, blue, or white. They are robust growers with a lifespan of over 50 years, but without the right training and care, they may easily turn into a nuisance. How can you train Wisteria and keep it under control when it seems like they will climb anything nearby?
Wisteria will practically climb anything that it can, such as trees, buildings, fences, sheds, and more. As long as the building can hold its weight, wisteria will grow. You may train the plant to climb up any firm structure, grow into a shrub or tree, or do both.
The growth cycle of wisteria and all relevant information regarding its climbing habits are covered in this article. I’ll also go through various climbing techniques you can teach your Wisteria and some things you should never allow it to do.
Where should a wisteria be planted?
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.
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 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.
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.
Where shouldn’t wisteria be grown?
In order to support the massive vine, the wisteria’s root system extends out widely and dives deep. Do wisteria roots exhibit aggression? Yes, wisteria’s root system is highly aggressive. Avoid planting wisteria next to walls or walkways because of its extensive and strong root system. These are easily harmed by a wisteria’s root system.
Experts advise inserting a corrugated panel about 6 feet (1.8 m) long and several feet (1 m) broad beside the plant to redirect the roots if you find a wisteria close to a building or pathway.
How is a wisteria trained to grow up a fence?
Wisteria should be trained as an espalier with horizontal support wires (3mm galvanized steel) spaced 30 cm (1 ft) apart for the best results when grown against a wall. Plants will develop a robust spur system with time and twice-yearly trimming.
What kind of vine grows best on fences?
The Most Epic Fix for an Ugly Fence Is Climbing Vines
- Shop now for jasmine at Amazon.com (Star Jasmine plant, $22).
- Roses that Climb.
- Hydrangeas climbing.
How is wisteria made to climb?
My initial apartment search in Brooklyn led me to a one bedroom on a peaceful, tree-lined street. The apartment wasn’t particularly noteworthy, but the structure was: The entire brownstone, windows and all, was covered in an impenetrable mass of wisteria. Some strong wisteria vines, which may grow 10 feet or more in a single season, can easily cover a three-story building. Despite its rambunctious nature, a wisteria in full blossom is one of the most beautiful views.
Wisteria may happily twine, climb, and sprawl over anything in its path for a very long time without any pruning. But a trimming routine becomes an essential task for the gardener who has a small yard and wants to enjoy more obvious and many wisteria flowers. Plan on pruning at least twice a year (once in the summer and once in the winter) for best results. Understanding how the vine develops will also help you succeed.
Not everyone prefers to live without windows, but no one needs to if they plan ahead and make a commitment to routine pruning.
Summer: Cut the long shoots after flowers fade
Since wisteria flowers grow on the growth from the previous year, pruning wisterias twice a year not only keeps them in controllable proportions but also develops a network of short branches close to the building so you can more readily enjoy the blooms. Simply cut the long branches from the current year’s growth back to 6 inches in length in the early summer after the vines have flowered to achieve this. Pruning away root suckers, especially on grafted kinds, and totally removing any branches not required for the main framework of the plant should also be done at this time. Depending on how much time you have and how tidy you want your vine to look, you could choose to prune this way once or more regularly during the summer. Remember that wisteria seedpods are ornamental to many gardeners, so you might wish to leave some wasted blossoms remain.
For winter interest, some seedpods may be left on the vine, but if you bring them inside, high temperatures will force them to explode. The pea-shaped fruit was once utilized by a friend as part of a winter arrangement. The following morning, she discovered her cat hiding in a corner from the flying seeds.
Winter: Prune long shoots down to three or five buds
Trim the long stems that have sprouted after the summer trimming to three to five buds in the late winter. Remove any undesired long shoots from the previous season as well; they will be easier to spot now that the framework is leafless.
To focus energy on flower production rather than vegetative development, even short branches should be pruned to three to five buds.
Why your wisteria may not bloom
Wisterias are infamous for not blooming. Make sure these fundamental cultural prerequisites are satisfied before attempting severe measures.
The decision to go with a seed-grown plant rather than a grafted plant is the most frequent cause of a lack of flowers. While seed-grown vines may take up to seven years before flowering, grafted plants normally blossom within three years.
High winds and late frosts can harm flower buds, particularly those of Wisteria sinensis. Wisteria, on the other hand, blooms best following years with hot summers.
Avoid fertilizer with a high nitrogen content. Wisteria fixes nitrogen in the soil like other legumes do. A surplus of nitrogen might result in poor flowering and excessive leaf growth.
Training a new wisteria on a pergola
The plant’s strength allows it to adapt to various forms. Wisteria can be trained against a structure or lattice, molded into a shrub or standard, or planted on a pergola or arbor. Because of its long blossoms, which dangle dramatically through the top of pergolas and arbors, wisteria floribunda is a popular choice. Since it grows so quickly, like other wisteria species, only one plant is typically required to completely cover a structure. However, placing two vines at the opposite ends of a structure provides it aesthetic balance and allows a gardener to showcase two different cultivars on the same structure.
Planning is essential when training wisteria to grow on a pergola or arbor. These constructions must be fashioned of a sturdy, weather-resistant material, such as cedar, and properly anchored in the ground with concrete footings in order to be used effectively. Don’t be scared to overbuild a pergola or arbor because wisteria is notorious for tearing down its supports. I suggest using at least 24 lumber for the crosspieces and 44 lumber for the posts.
Allow two or three young shoots to knot loosely around each other and the post as they grow to start training a new plant onto a pergola or arbor. Since the woody stems grow gnarled and attractive as they mature, this will help give interest to the plant’s structure. As they climb, the young shoots need to be fastened to the post. To do this, fasten a 14-gauge galvanized (or comparable) wire to the post using eye hooks spaced roughly 18 inches apart (or on all four sides for extra support). Use gardening twine to secure the shoots to the wire as they develop. As they develop, give them some breathing room to develop a more attractive habit and avoid having them mature and put a lot of stress on the framework.
The shoots should be headed back (their tips should be pruned) once they have reached the top of the arbor to encourage side shoots that will spread across the tops of the supports and bear flowers. The training ties on the post will no longer be required as the plant matures and becomes more stable across the top of the structure. In order to keep the plant from becoming girdled as it grows, it is a good idea to remove them.