Does Wisteria Grow In North Carolina

American Wisteria is a rare, tall-climbing deciduous vine found in bottomland woodlands in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain.

The blossoms don’t smell. Much less frequent than the comparable Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), which has velvety seed pods, as opposed to the smooth ones of American Wisteria, and grape-scented blooms that bloom before the leaves develop.

In the Piedmont, where it is more frequent as an adornment, it is uncommon. It grows well in cultivation and is far more elegant, manageable, and tasteful than Chinese Wisteria.

In North Carolina, is wisteria invasive?

Alternatives should be taken into account because this plant is problematic. Take a look at the recommendations in the left-hand column.

Japanese Wisteria is aggressive and invasive in North Carolina due to its uncontrolled growth and surface runners that can take root, despite the fact that it may be slow to establish. It is a woody deciduous vine that twines counterclockwise and needs strong support as well as routine pruning. The stems can be coaxed to grow into a shrub or small tree, or they can thread up to 25 feet along a support. Compound pinnate leaves are bright green and have 15–19 leaflets. Drooping clusters (racemes) of pink–purple, pea–shaped, highly fragrant blooms are 12–18 inches long. As the leaves emerge in the spring, these flowers begin to bloom from the base of the clusters to the tip. Following flowering, dangling, 6 inch long, velvety seed pods ripen in the fall and occasionally last into the winter.

Both moist and dry soils are resistant to the Japanese Wisteria. By twining and covering over plants and trees, it can grow incredibly thick thickets. Wherever the nodes contact the earth, the stems take root. The big seeds of this plant discourage wildlife from using it. Water is used to spread the seeds. It cannot tolerate shade.

You can eat the seeds, blossoms, and leaves. However, as the seeds can be harmful when raw, vigilance should be exercised. The seeds will taste like chestnuts after baking. You can produce a tea replacement out of young leaves. Cooking the blossoms makes them edible as well.

You can use the bark of the Wisteria floribunda to produce sandals and ropes. Bridge cables are made from branches.

Insects, diseases, and other plant issues: Once established, this plant requires a lot of attention because to its rapid growth, hence native alternatives should be taken into account. It might be challenging to get the plant to bloom. Pruning the roots, using phosphorous fertilizer, and reducing the shoots to just three to four buds are some techniques that can be tried. The seeds are lethal.

View this plant in the environment below:

Species / Cultivars:

  • White and extremely fragrant “Alba” flowers.
  • White with pinkish tips, sometimes known as “Carnea” or “Kuchibeni.”
  • ‘Issai’ Violet to blue-violet racemes measuring 12″.
  • Racemes up to 2′ long, with white blooms that are extremely fragrant.
  • Racemes up to 2′ long, white flowers, highly fragrant, “Longissima Alba”
  • 2-4′ racemes of fragrant, red-violet blooms called “Macrobotrys.”
  • The purple “Multijuga” flower blooms in May or June.
  • Purple flowers, ‘Nuda’
  • Pink, fragrant rosea blooms are in bloom.
  • White blooms with a strong scent on racemes up to 2′ long: “Snow Showers.”
  • Variegated, often known as “Non Nishiki,” foliage with cream to yellow splotches.
  • “Violacea Plena” Double violet-blue flowers in clusters under one foot. very aromatic

Is wisteria a wild plant in North Carolina?

Wisteria frutescens, sometimes known as American wisteria, is a woody deciduous vine that twines counterclockwise and can reach heights of 40 feet or more. It is endemic to the region from Virginia through Illinois south to Florida and Texas, and is generally found in damp thickets, swampy forests, pond margins, and stream banks. It is frequently seen in North Carolina’s coastal plain but hardly ever in the Piedmont. Wisteria sinensis spreads more quickly and aggressively than American wisteria (Chinese wisteria). Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) twines clockwise, whilst Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) and Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) twine both counterclockwise.

It thrives in full sun, soils that are somewhat acidic, humusy, moderately fertile, wet, and well-drained. For the best flowering, full sun is required; it cannot thrive in complete shadow. It can take longer, but the vines might start to bloom in the second or third year after planting. In order to manage the growth and shape of the plant and promote flowering, vines require regular pruning. For details on the initial training of vines and the kinds of pruning that can or should be done for these plants, see a pruning guide. The best time to perform any severe pruning is in the spring, right after blossoming. Early spring fertilizer applications might also encourage flowering. Because plants detest being transferred, choose your growing locations carefully. It is well known that the plant can fix nitrogen in the soil. When measured in years, seed-based propagation is extremely slow, whereas shoots and cuttings grow much more quickly.

Plant pests, diseases, or other issues:

susceptible to a multitude of insects that feed on foliage, the honey fungus, and other fungi that cause illnesses. Many factors, including wintertime frost damage to flower buds, excessive shade, immature plants (particularly those developed from seed), poor pruning, and overfertilization, might prevent vines from flowering.

Wisteria will it withstand the winter?

Don’t panic if your wisteria begins to drop its leaves in the fall. Deciduous wisteria predominates. Winter doesn’t keep it green, but the leaves will come back in the spring.

Before dropping their leaves, some wisteria varieties put on a show of fall color as the leaves turn yellow or gold. If it’s happening in the fall, there’s typically nothing to worry about unless you’re also observing other symptoms like an insect infestation. Yellowing and dropping leaves can be signals of disease and other problems.

While Evergreen Wisteria (Millettia reticulata) is more challenging to grow, all true Wisteria are deciduous. Your Evergreen Wisteria will most likely maintain its leaves throughout the year if you have hot summers and brief, mild winters with little below freezing. This is zone 9b and higher in the US, which includes a portion of California and Arizona as well as the southern half of Florida and Texas.

Evergreen Wisteria is deciduous like regular Wisteria in more temperate regions, so you may anticipate it to go dormant for the winter and sprout new leaves in the spring. You probably won’t be able to cultivate Evergreen Wisteria in a location that is colder than USDA zone 8 because even deciduous habit cannot shield it from prolonged, bitterly cold winters.

Where does wisteria grow?

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 do the purple-flowered trees in North Carolina represent?

One of the first trees in North Carolina to bloom is the native eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis. Its damaged roadside habitats and woodland borders are adorned by its purple blossoms. Soon after flowering, the heart-shaped leaf emerges. The redbud is a great tiny tree; it may reach a height of 20 to 30 feet and thrives in either full sun or mild shade. Redbud may grow in a variety of soil types, although it prefers those with a pH close to neutral. Once established, it can withstand drought conditions and needs well-drained soils. Redbud, particularly bare-rooted trees, can be challenging to establish. The optimal time to plant small potted plants is during their dormant stage, which is best done in the late fall to early spring. Redbud trees have relatively shallow root systems, therefore planting them at the right depth is essential for optimum growth and survival.

Redbud frequently develops several stems early on. The normal tree form will be encouraged and the issue of narrow crotches that split from winds or ice will be avoided by early removal of all but one main stem. The redbud requires little pruning, save from early shaping and clipping off branches that cross or rub together.

What distinguishes Japanese and Chinese wisteria?

Wisteria usually grows around historic homes. Chinese wisteria and Japanese wisteria are the two wisteria species that have escaped into the eastern United States. When wisteria becomes established, it can be challenging to get rid of it and can cling to trees and plants in the area for years. In the landscape, they can kill or alter desirable trees.

Vegetative Growth

There are some recognizable vegetative differences between Chinese and Japanese wisterias. Japanese wisteria twines clockwise, whilst Chinese wisteria twines the opposite direction. Japanese wisteria leaves typically have 11 leaflets, but Chinese wisteria leaves can have up to 713 leaflets. Positive identification, however, can be challenging due to some overlap in leaflet traits and the existence of hybrids (Wisteria x formosa Rehd.).

Pinnately complex leaves are typically alternately placed on the stems of wisterias. Leaflets are typically 14 inches long and elliptic to ovate in form. Chinese and Japanese wisterias are high-climbing vines that can grow up to 70 to 80 feet in height, but American wisteria [Wisteriafrutescens (L.) Poir.] only reaches 1525 feet. In Sierra Madre, California, a Chinese wisteria set a record by having a stem length of more than 450 feet. Chinese and Japanese wisterias are typically only constrained by the structure they are supported by. Wisteria stems (vines) tightly wrap around living supports like trees, gradually killing them. The bark on the stems is light brown or tan and relatively smooth. There are produced both lateral and vertical stems. Rooting along the length of the plant, lateral stems normally get more tense with age. Either stem type’s removal can be challenging.

Flowering and Seeds

Before the leaves appear, the Chinese and Japanese wisterias blossom in the spring. Hanging clusters of fragrant flowers with white, violet, or purple petals are produced. A densely hairy (velvety pubescent) legume (seedpod) that has one to four seeds develops from flowers.


Wisteria spreads sexually by seed or vegetatively through stem growth. Since the fruit is deadly, wildlife does not likely spread it frequently. Most likely, infestations in most regions of the United States were made possible by intentional planting as an ornamental for landscape purposes.


Fence rows, woodlands, and other landscape features may be affected by wisterias. The surrounding vegetation is replaced by the dense thickets that wisteria develops. These thickets may provide as a habitat for some animals, but they are a formidable barrier to both animal and human activities.


Although there are allegedly many Chinese and Japanese wisterias in the eastern United States, the presence of fertile hybrids may jeopardize the current species range. In the United States, American wisteria can be found from Massachusetts to Michigan and south to Florida and Texas. All are grown, notably hybrids of Chinese and Japanese wisterias. The Midsouth is covered in wisteria. American wisteria grows in and around marshes and is typically less aggressive.


Since there aren’t many labeled advice for controlling wisteria, more research is required. For suggested chemical applications, see Table 1. These herbicides can be used as foliar, frill, basal bark, cut stump, or soil treatments, among other ways of application. With frill, sometimes known as hack and squirt, an incision in the bark must be made every 2 inches all the way around the woody stem. The herbicide is then sprayed into these apertures. The lower 1824 inches of the entire plant trunk are sprayed with a bark-penetrating adjuvant to apply basal bark treatments. When applied right before bud break, these treatments are most effective on trunks with a diameter of less than 4 inches. After cutting the main stem, applications are performed to the cut stump. To stop the remaining stump from resprouting, spray herbicide on it slightly inside the bark. A nonionic surfactant must also be used in all foliar and basal bark applications at a rate of 3264 ounces per 100 gallons of spray solution. Applications done within two times the dripline of attractive trees may result in harm or death because picloram is absorbed by tree roots. Several desirable trees can be sprayed with clopyralid, making it an excellent option for treating wisteria-draped trees.


Although mechanical controls are an option, they are frequently pricy and labor-intensive. Climbing stems create lateral stems (vines) at their base, which can spread far from the original plant. Climbing vines can encircle trees and shrubs in a tight web that makes removal challenging. Young branches can be pruned by snapping them, but older vines must be clipped.