How To Bonsai Wisteria

Create a new bonsai by taking softwood cuttings from a wisteria plant in the summer. When the temperature is usually above 70 degrees, softwood cuttings root more readily.

Can you create a bonsai of wisteria?

It is frequently used to cover facades or pergolas in gardens. Numerous cultivars come in a variety of flower colors, including white, pink, and dark purple. The two most popular wisteria species for bonsai are the Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), which has the longest flower clusters, and the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), which grows in China. When the long, velvety seed pods get ripe, they can literally erupt and catapult their seeds out. Both seed pods and seed are toxic.

Because the lengthy flower clusters require considerable height to hang from, the majority of wisteria bonsai are medium or big in size. Wisterias make excellent bonsai plants, but their distinctive characteristic is their blossoms. After flowering, the wisteria hides its trunk and branches behind sprawling leaves and encroaching tendrils before moving back to the second row of the bonsai garden. Check out our Bonsai tree identification guide if you need assistance recognizing your tree.

Understand fast facts about Wisteria bonsai trees

You need to be aware of all of a wisteria tree’s characteristics in order to properly care for it. It is a fast-growing vine-like tree, for starters. This tree may develop quickly in the wild, giving out blossoms and eventually pods in no time. However, it will take some time for this tree to produce blooms and pods when cultivated as a bonsai. Flowers won’t start to bloom for roughly ten years. However, it is worth the wait, as any bonsai gardener of wisteria will agree. It won’t take long for the delicate blossoms on your Wisteria bonsai trees to bloom if you give them lots of tender love and care.


  • Wisteria has a thicker trunk and a vine-like look and activity.
  • Wisteria trees expand quickly.
  • The branches of wisteria typically ascend and curl out.
  • Wisteria blooms with a sweet scent will hang from the branches.
  • Flowers come in white, blue, or lavender hues.
  • The tiny, green leaves of wisteria are ideal for creating miniature trees.

Growing Position

  • Although they can also grow in half sun, wisteria trees prefer full light.
  • Despite appearing delicate, this does not require any protection from strong winds.
  • Wisteria trees can be grown both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wisteria trees can be moved to a shaded area after being brought outside to the garden for extensive sun exposure.


  • During their development phase, wisteria trees require a lot of water.
  • Water must be abundant before and during the wisteria’s flowering period.
  • Allow the roots of wisteria trees to absorb all the water they require.
  • To provide the tree with more water, you may set the pot on top of a tray of water.


  • Wisterias have a ravenous appetite and, given the chance, will consume a lot of fertilizer.
  • Use only fertilizer made specifically for wisteria trees, which contains less nitrogen.
  • A product with less nitrogen is preferable because too much nitrogen can encourage foliar growth and reduce the number of blooms.
  • When providing Wisteria trees with nutrients, always abide by the feeding instructions.

Leaf and Branch Pruning

  • Pruning must be done annually, and it is done in the fall.
  • When the tree has no blossoms, hard pruning is performed.
  • Remove any growths and shoots that won’t be used as branches.
  • A weeping or cascading style must be pruned to stay in good condition.
  • Pruning facilitates flower presentation when they are in bloom.
  • Remove pods as soon as you notice them to encourage new blossoms. So doing will stop seeds from growing.

Re-potting & Growing Medium

  • At least once every year, repot young trees. Attempt this in the spring or the fall.
  • Continuous root teasing and pruning are necessary.
  • Repotting is required for mature trees at least every two years.
  • Wide, deep containers are ideal for wisteria bonsai trees.
  • Each time you repot an item, use new dirt. In addition to stopping the spread of illness, this will guarantee that soil contains new nutrients.

Wiring a Wisteria bonsai

  • In Wisteria bonsai trees, wiring is utilized to shift the branches into the desired pattern.
  • When blooming is over, wiring should be done.
  • As soon as possible, cut the wires to avoid damaging the delicate Wisteria bonsai trunk and branches.

Important Notes

When wisteria trees are at least ten years old, they will begin to flower. You must exercise patience and care for your bonsai properly so that it will eventually be able to produce magnificent flowers. Never forget that wisteria seeds and components are extremely poisonous to humans and kids. Do not consume this, and avoid growing seeds in areas where kids and dogs can inadvertently consume them.

How should a bonsai wisteria be pruned?

Remove Dead Roots When repotting, remove all dead roots but only the necessary amount of living roots to fit it in the bonsai container. While wisteria bonsai are allowed to totally get root bound in the pot, most bonsai receive springtime root cutting.

How long does wisteria bonsai take to grow?

Many gardeners are eager to care for their tree from its earliest beginnings, even though it can be simpler (and quicker!) to take over the upkeep of an established, mature bonsai. It’s not difficult to grow wisteria bonsai from seeds; all you need to know is how to create the right conditions and a lot of patience.

When cultivated from seeds, bonsai can take anywhere between 10 and 15 years to mature. That indicates that it will take a long time before you are blessed with their lovely blooms. But we assure you that the wait will be worthwhile if you’re patient!

Here are some frequently asked questions for newbies and further information on how to germinate wisteria seeds.

In the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, Chinese and Japanese wisteria are regarded as invasive plants. Take extra precautions to keep your seeds contained if you’re growing in these areas or you run the danger of hurting the local fauna and plants.

How to Germinate Wisteria Seeds

It takes more than just throwing some seeds in a pot to grow a wisteria bonsai from a seed. The seeds must first be encouraged to germinate or to send out roots. You can determine which seeds are viable by doing this and giving them a small start-up boost.

  • First, gather the seeds from a wisteria plant that is in blossom. If the wisteria seeds are ready to be harvested, shake the pod to check. You’re fine to go if it starts to rattle.
  • Step 2: Not all seeds that have been picked will grow. Place the seeds in a jar of water to test their viability; those that float are likely to sprout.
  • Step 3: Weakening the seed’s exterior can aid in the embryo’s germination when spreading dried seeds. Before planting, think about softly thinning the shell with a file or sharp blade.
  • Step 4: Add moist, soilless seedling mixture to a sizable, shallow pot or multiple individual seedling containers (containers must have drainage holes).
  • Step 5: Spread a thin layer of dirt over the soil, top with the seeds, and water thoroughly. Place in a bright, comfortable area.
  • Step 6: Particularly in their early stages, wisteria plants prefer a damp environment. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged by checking the moisture levels every day.
  • Step 7: After the wisteria seedlings emerge from the ground, you can transplant them into a shallow container with good drainage to start the bonsai process.

FAQ 1: How do you look after bonsai seedlings?

Before you attain the “bonsai impression,” you still have a lot of work to do after transplanting your seedling to a shallow pot. In order for the delicate wisteria roots to develop as strongly as possible, you must first maintain the soil properly.

The bottom of the pot should have a layer of coarse substrate or coco peat to help with water retention while yet allowing for appropriate airflow. Add regular bonsai potting soil to the remaining space in the pot and cover this layer. Give your bonsai seedling plenty of sunlight after you’ve placed it in this mixture to encourage photosynthesis and fuel new development.

FAQ 2: How often do you water bonsai seedlings?

During their development phases, wisteria bonsai seedlings require a lot of water and prefer to be permanently damp. Water at least once daily, and daily moisture levels should be checked. Your goal is to prevent the soil from drying out and to maintain it moist but not soggy.

You can submerge the bonsai seedling’s container in a shallow tray of water so that it can control its own moisture uptake.

Study more: See our manual What to look for before taking a bath is described in How to Know When to Water Your Bonsai.

FAQ 3: When should I repot my bonsai seedlings?

Late winter, when the plants are fully dormant, is the ideal time to transfer bonsai seedlings. By doing this, the repotting process’ shock and stress are lessened. Because they grow quickly and vigorously, wisteria plants may usually be replanted after just one growing season. You’ll need to repot them once every two years as so as they develop into juvenile trees to provide room for new growth.

Wisteria bonsai: harmful or not?

Wisteria bonsai are indeed lethal. When consumed, the seeds and pods of a wisteria bonsai are deadly to both people and animals. As a result, you must keep your Wisteria Bonsai out of your pets’ and kids” reach.

Wisteria can it grow in pots?

Wisteria can be grown against a house wall or another robust building, like a sturdy pergola. Wisteria can be grown in a container, but only if done so as a conventional tree and with regular trimming to keep its shape. This is a highly labor-intensive option.

How to plant wisteria

Wisteria can be planted in spring or fall. Plant at the same level as it was in the original pot and water in thoroughly after thoroughly preparing the soil to guarantee a proper root run. Like an espalier fruit tree, tie the stems to horizontal galvanized wires connected to the wall. Remove all but one stem if it is climbing a pergola, and tie this stem to the post.

How to plant wisteria in a pot

Wisterias can be planted in pots, but because they are hungry plants, you will need to feed them frequently. Choose this option only if you’re training your wisteria to be a standard. Use a quality tree and shrub compost and the biggest pot you can fit. Plant at the same height as it was in the first pot and give it plenty of water.

How to care for wisteria

The wisteria plant is ravenous. During the growing season, fertilize once a month with a high potash fertilizer to promote greater flower blooming. Weekly wisteria fertilizer and watering. Use organic mulch in the fall, such as well-rotted horse dung or homemade compost, to protect your plants.

How and when to prune wisteria

Wisteria should be pruned twice a year in August and February. Focus on integrating the plant into the support throughout the first few years. This entails cutting back side shoots to five buds in early August, training in strong side shoots, and removing very low branches.

How to prune wisteria in summer

Wisteria that is pruned in the summer will produce short spurs that will transport the spring blossoms.

  • Cut the long, robust shoots back from the base of the current season’s growth to a few buds.
  • Choose a few sturdy shoots from young plants (less than three years old) to tie to wires or a trellis.
  • Simply cut back side shoots on older wisterias to the base of your strong shoots.

Expert David Hurrion demonstrates how to prune wisteria in the summer in this little video. He demonstrates which stems to cut and how much to remove precisely:

How to prune wisteria in winter

By pruning both in winter and in the summer, you can promote the growth of the short spurs that bear the spring blooms. Anytime between late October and March is the dormant season, so do this.

  • Connect fresh growth to the main structure to increase its support
  • Cut back the remaining long stems sharply.

David Hurrion demonstrates how to control robust, leafy growth so it doesn’t cover budding flower buds in this video on winter-pruning wisteria:

How to propagate wisteria

Few gardeners cultivate wisteria; most opt to purchase a plant instead because it can take up to 20 years for a wisteria to bloom from a cutting. However, take softwood cuttings in the middle of April if you’re up for a battle.

  • Young stems should be cut into lengths and trimmed to 10 cm, just below a leaf joint.
  • Leave roughly four leaves at the top of each cutting after removing the lower ones.
  • Fill pots with cutting compost, then fill them with water and let the water drain.
  • Cover the cuttings with a clear plastic bag after inserting them into the pots so the leaves don’t contact.
  • Make sure the cuttings are kept moist by keeping them in a well-lit area.
  • Remove the bag and pot after growth is visible.

Growing wisteria: problem solving

Lack of blossoms is the most frequent issue wisteria gardeners encounter. Expecting blooms before the plant is four years old may be impractical because wisterias take their time to bloom.

David Hurrion provides tips on where to plant your wisteria, how to prune it, and how to feed it to get the most blossoms here.

Will wisteria damage my foundations?

In the spring, a house covered in wisteria looks magnificent. Can the roots harm your foundations, though? In our Quick Tips video, Catherine Mansley from BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine explains:

How is wisteria kept in check?

Wisteria produces a lovely spring show, but this tenacious vine requires a lot of pruning to prevent it from engulfing the entire garden.

A gardener with the Oregon State University Extension Service named Neil Bell claimed that wisteria are “extremely robust vines and can climb easily to 30 to 40 feet.” They should be grown on a sturdy structure because they can be rather hefty.

People want wisteria for their own gardens after witnessing the beautiful blooms explode in the middle of spring. But they should first be aware that the vine also requires intensive pruning in addition to the right support.

People should be aware of the work required to keep them in check before planting one, Bell advised. “Most flowering shrubs may be pruned once a year, but because wisteria is so incredibly vigorous, summer pruning is also beneficial. The biggest error is not pruning at all.”

The Chinese species (Wisteria sinensis), which blooms on bare branches before foliage emerges with flowers that open all at once, is the one that is most usually planted. They are smaller than the Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) blossoms, which unfold after the leaves emerge and gradually from the top down. The colors of fragrant flowers range from blue to lavender and, less frequently, white. Both kinds produce a lot of runners, which can be cut back more frequently than twice a year if the plant is in danger of taking over a building, especially your home.

Winter is the best time to prune because the leaf has fallen and the runners are simpler to spot, according to Bell. Examine the vine, trim any extra growth to the trunk, and then trim the remaining runners to two or three buds or a length of about 6 inches. Just above the selected bud, cut. Again in the summer, you should trim any extra growth and leave only two to three buds.

Another choice is to educate your wisteria to grow into a tree, which enables it to develop far from any structures where, if unpruned, it could seriously harm them. When it comes time for cutting, Bell added, it also makes it simpler to maneuver around the plant.

Use a sturdy metal stake to hold the vine to form a tree. It can take one growing season to train one shoot to climb the support, he advised. The basic shape of the tree is finished the next year by cutting the main stem above the top of your support where you want “branches” to develop. After this, the wisteria will require severe trimming every year to stay under control. The shoots can be severely pruned and still produce flowers.

Sometimes wisteria owners lament the lack of blooms on their plants. Be warned that, unless you purchased one while it was in bloom, blooms frequently don’t appear for two or three years (and perhaps longer) after planting. However, there are several things you may do to speed it up if you’ve waited for what feels like too long. Root pruning and stressing the plant by not fertilizing it will frequently force it to bloom. To root prune, cut the roots in a circle one to two feet from the plant’s trunk using a shovel.

Other growth advice from Bell for wisteria includes planting in full sun and maintaining continuously moist but not soggy soil. Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer (first number in the three-number label sequence). Less fertilizer is preferable to excessive fertilization. Feeding should only occur once a year, every other year, or never.

Fun fact: Sierra Madre, California is home to the largest known wisteria, which is over 1 acre in size and 250 tons heavy. In 1894, the Chinese species was planted.

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