Two factors demand careful consideration before you decide to plant a wisteria vine. The location of the plant should be taken into account first, followed by your willingness and ability to perform the required maintenance. Wisteria is a robust, quickly expanding vine. It’s fairly difficult to kill, and with little of your effort required, it will spread. You must therefore be extremely deliberate when trimming and maintaining this aggressive vine.
If wisteria is planted in the wrong spot or allowed to grow without pruning and trimming, it can definitely harm your home and yard. It can clamber up gutters, beneath siding, and onto roofs, and it can harm flimsy fences. Other plants have been reported to get choked out by it.
But that doesn’t mean you have to have one of these stunning creatures in your yard. Proper upkeep and care are essential, just like with so many other plants! As long as you maintain it each year, controlling your wisteria and teaching it to grow where you want is very easy.
Additionally, keep in mind that not all Wisterias are created equal. There are three main types, and each has distinct habits and a tad bit of variation.
Usually, online and in select nurseries, you can buy Chinese and Japanese wisteria. They boast the most delicate, lengthy, and fragrant racemes, as well as being the most aggressive producers (blooms). These Asian types are quite large when fully grown, reaching lengths of 60 to 100 feet (or more). Additionally, keep in mind that they can live for decades—50 years or longer!
There is also a native species called American Wisteria that is far less invasive and manageable. I would advise choosing a native type of wisteria if you haven’t previously done so and are thinking about doing so. Another natural choice is Kentucky Wisteria, which has racemes that are more bluish than purple and is just as beautiful. (See here for more information on Wisteria variations.)
It’s critical to be aware of the many species because the most aggressive ones are most likely to harm your house or garden. If left unchecked, Chinese Wisteria can outgrow other plants, kill trees, and harm regional ecosystems because of how quickly it grows. It can climb and crawl into shady places and below existing bush, causing damage along the way, because it will thrive in almost any environment.
Can wisteria be grown adjacent to a house?
In the spring, wisteria blooms ferociously, producing clusters of lilac-colored flowers on fresh growth that develops from spurs off the main stalks. Check out our Wisteria Growing Guide for more information on wisteria maintenance, including planting and pruning.
Wisteria is a long-living vining shrub with cascades of blue to purple blossoms that, in the spring and early summer, look stunning hanging from a pergola or archway. However, this vine is known to grow fairly heavy and to grow quickly and aggressively, frequently reaching lengths of more than 30 feet. It’s advised not to put wisteria vines too close to your home since they will squirm their way into any crack or crevice they can find.
Beautifully fragrant wisteria flowers offer a feast for the senses. A brown, bean-like pod remains on the plant during the winter after flowering. There are only blooms on fresh growth.
Note: Be careful when planting wisteria! 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.
Is Wisteria an Invasive Plant?
The wisteria species Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda, which are not native to North America, are regarded as invasive in several areas. If you want to add a new wisteria to your garden, we advise choosing one of the native North American varieties, such as American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) or Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya), which are excellent alternatives to the Asian species.
Do you want to know how to distinguish between North American and Asian species?
While North American wisteria is not quite as aggressive in its growing tendencies and has smooth seed pods and fruits in addition to more-or-less cylindrical, bean-shaped seeds, Asian wisteria is an aggressive grower with fuzzy seed pods. Another distinction is that the flowers of American and Kentucky wisterias appear in the late spring after the plant has begun to leaf out, whereas those of Chinese wisteria do not.
When to Plant Wisteria
- Plant during the plant’s dormant season in the spring or fall.
- Wisteria can be grown from seed, although plants from seeds frequently take many years to mature and begin to bloom. It is advised to buy wisteria plants that are already established or to begin with a cutting.
Where to Plant Wisteria
- Put a plant in full sun. Even while wisteria will grow in some shade, it won’t likely bloom. Sunlight is necessary.
- Wisteria should be grown in fertile, wet, but well-draining soil.
- Wisteria will grow in most soils unless it is in bad condition, in which case you need add compost. Find out more about soil improvements and getting the soil ready for planting.
- Because wisteria grows swiftly and can easily engulf its neighbors, pick a location apart from other plants.
- Additionally, wisteria is renowned for encroaching on and infiltrating surrounding buildings like homes, garages, sheds, and so on. We highly advise against growing wisteria too near your house!
- Wisteria vines need a very strong support, like a metal or wooden trellis or pergola, to climb on. Plan carefully and use substantial materials to construct your structure because mature plants have been known to become so heavy that they destroy their supports.
Wisteria looks gorgeous growing up the side of a house, but use caution when planting it because it is a very strong vine that will get into any crack or gap!
Caring for Wisteria
- Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch and a layer of compost under the plant each spring to keep moisture in and keep weeds at bay.
- Phosphorus is often used by gardeners to promote flowering. In the spring, work a few cups of bone meal into the soil. Then, in the fall, add some rock phosphate. Study up on soil amendments.
- If you get less than an inch of rain each week, water your plants. (To determine how much rain you are receiving, set an empty food can outside and use a measuring stick to gauge the depth of the water.)
- During the summer, try pruning the out-of-control shoots every two weeks for more blooms.
- In the late winter, prune wisteria. Remove at least half of the growth from the previous year, leaving only a few buds on each stem.
- Also prune in the summer after customary flowering if you prefer a more formal appearance. On fresh growth, spurs from the main shoots of the wisteria develop its blossoms. Trim back every new shoot from this year to a spur, leaving no more than 6 inches of growth. So that there are no free, trailing shoots, the entire plant can be trained, roped in, and otherwise organized throughout this procedure.
- Mature plants that have been cultivated informally require little to no more pruning. However, for a plant that has been formally trained, side branches should be pruned back in the summer to 6 inches, then again in the winter to 3 buds.
- Possess you a fresh wisteria? After planting, severely prune the vine. Then, the next year, trim the main stem or stems to a height of 3 feet from the growth of the previous year. After the framework has grown to its full size, midsummer extension growth should be cut back to where it started that season.
Why does wisteria cause issues?
With 15-inch trunks, this vine can grow up to 70 feet quickly. Native canopy trees, understory trees, and shrubs may be suffocated or destroyed by this invasive vine’s heavy weight due to its quick growth and intense shade.
This is a particular issue in the warmer Southern states, where this aggressive and quickly proliferating invasive species is destroying native habitats.
As it climbs, the vine tightly wraps around the trees and bushes, eventually girdling and killing them.
Because native ecosystems have been destroyed, the habitat for many insects, birds, butterflies, and other animals has also been destroyed, leaving them without a place to live.
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.
Wisteria: Is it a smart idea?
(From Mary’s perspective) Wisteria has numerous advantages, but the springtime display of pendulous, fragrant flowers makes them stand out the most. It’s common practice to plant wisteria in gardens, especially in the warm climes of the Southern United States.
It looks quite beautiful as ornaments. Hardy wisteria vines have clusters of hanging blossoms that in mid- to late spring draw butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. They also have dark, glossy foliage. Depending on the species, the pea-like flowers might be bluish-lavender, purple, pink, red-violet, mauve, or white. Keep an eye out for unusual seed pods that follow the blooms.
The wisteria grows quickly. This tenacious climber can scale any substantial building and can grow to lengths of 30 feet (9 meters) or much higher. But keep in mind that this isn’t a vine for a frail fence or trellis, and planting it up against a building is typically not a good choice. Even native wisteria, which is less invasive than Japanese wisteria, has a tendency to be aggressive and has been known to eat through siding or ruin paint.
Growing the vine is simple. Another benefit of planting wisteria is that it is easy to grow and adapts to almost any soil type. Wisteria is further simple to grow from cuttings. Wisteria is a long-lived plant that will provide beauty to the yard for many years after it is established.
The plant improves the soil. Wisteria is a nitrogen-fixing plant, like all other members of the legume family, which enhances soil quality. Prunings create excellent mulch, but make sure the branches are dead before spreading the mulch else you risk getting new vines growing there.
Are wisteria plants invasive?
Background In 1916, Chinese wisteria was first made available as an ornamental plant. Despite being weedy and disruptive, it has been widely planted, grown, and is still highly popular in the nursery industry.
Availability and Habitat Chinese wisteria, which is widely distributed in the eastern United States, has been found to be invasive in at least 19 states, ranging from Massachusetts to Texas south to Illinois. Although established vines will survive and propagate in moderate shade, wisteria likes full sun. Vines cling to trees, bushes, and man-made objects. Although it can tolerate a wide range of soil types and moisture levels, it likes deep, loamy soils with good drainage. Common locations for infestations include the edges of forests, the sides of highways, ditches, and right-of-ways.
Ecological Danger The tough, woody vines firmly entwine themselves around the trunks and branches of the host trees and sever the bark, causing death by girdling. On the ground, new vines that grow from seeds or rootstocks produce thickets that smother and shade out native plants and obstruct the growth of natural plant communities. Canopy gaps that result from dying girdled trees allow more light to reach the forest floor. While this might momentarily benefit certain local species, it also encourages wisteria to grow and spread vigorously.
- Plant: a clockwise-climbing, deciduous, woody twining vine with strong, smooth, gray-brown stems that are dusted with tiny white hairs. The diameter of older plants can reach 15 inches or more.
- The leaves are complex, alternating, and have 9–11–7–13 leaflets that are egg-shaped with wavy borders and sharply tapering points.
- Flowers, fruits, and seeds: Prior to the development of leaves, flowering takes place in April. The flowers are lavender to purple, appear in pendulous racemes or clusters 6-8 (up to 12) in long, and mostly open at once. Individual flowers are 0.8-0.9 in. long on 0.6-0.8 in. long stalks (pedicels). The fruits are green to brown velvety seedpods 4-6 in. long, narrowed toward the base with constrictions between the 1-3 flat,
- Spreads vegetatively by creating stolons, which are above-ground stems that develop shoots and roots at irregular intervals, as well as via seed, which in riparian environments can be transported by water.
- Look-alikes include the Japanese and American wisterias (Wisteria frutescens), which have leaves that are 7 to 12 inches long, 9 to 15 leaflets that are all the same size, plane margins, tips that are acute to slightly tapering, smooth bright green above, and slightly milky undersides. They bloom in May after the leaves have expanded, with flower clusters that are 4-6 inches long and not particularly pendulous, and individual flowers that are about 3/4 inches long and
Control and Prevention Cut vines to free trees from the weight and girdling caused by modest infestations. Use a systemic pesticide containing glyphosate or triclopyr on the lower cut stem sections. From a seed, new plants may sprout. Long-term planning is necessary (see Control Options).
Is wisteria messy in any way?
When thinking about putting a wisteria in your yard, location is crucial. Wisterias require a lot of support during their growing cycle due to their lengthy lifespan and hefty, woody stems. It is challenging to pull them up and replant them once they have been planted and have established a home.
These aggressive, quickly spreading vines have the ability to cover doors and break or harm facades. The vines will work their way through the outside and buckle the siding of the house by squeezing through any gaps or crevices in the side of the building. After a heavy rain, it may find its way between roof tiles and cause water damage.
During its peak growing season, wisteria may also clog gutters, cover and even break glass windows, remove beautiful shutters, and cause other exterior home damage in a matter of months.
Does wisteria’s root system spread quickly?
If you go to a garden center and buy a pot of wisteria, it’s probably going to be a Wisteria frutescens, also known as “Amethyst Falls.”
This kind of wisteria originated in the United States, as opposed to other species that are Asian in origin.
Due to its less invasive nature and lack of ongoing trimming requirements, this variety is excellent for novices and small gardens.