A twining, deciduous climbing plant with a long flowering season and fragrant blossoms is called wisteria. When in bloom, a wisteria is a wonderful sight with its long, trailing, fragrant blossoms in blue, purple, pink, or white. Wisteria is typically grown on a south-facing wall. Wisteria is a rewarding plant with lovely flowers that bloom between April and June, and occasionally again in August. While wisteria sinensis twines anticlockwise and is the more vigorous of the two, wisteria floribunda (which twines clockwise) originates originated from Japan. In W. senensis, flowers emerge before foliage, whereas in W. floribunda, flowers and foliage emerge simultaneously.
Wisteria requires a lot of room because it grows quickly, reaching heights of up to 9 meters (30 feet). It can’t stand on its own and needs a framework of wires or supports to develop. Prior to planting Wisteria, it is best to build the structure. Wisteria can survive in light shade as well as full sun, though it prefers the former. The drawback of growing wisteria is that it requires a lot of time and effort to flourish. It has the name “red wheelbarrow plant” on it.
Wisteria is a strong climber, so growing it is not difficult; the challenge is getting it to bloom. Correct pruning is a necessary step to get Wisteria to bloom. To guarantee that wisteria blooms consistently every year, it needs to be pruned twice a year (in the summer and the winter). Flowering depends on pruning. Ladders are required for pruning as the wisteria matures and climbs higher up the wall, increasing the amount of upkeep. Wisteria needs a lot of area because it grows quickly and can be clipped to control its size. Although it may seem obvious, wisteria is best planted in the proper location from the beginning. This is because once established, it is difficult to remove because it has very robust, woody roots.
Wisteria is one of the most beautiful climbing plants, but it’s also one of the most time-consuming and challenging to grow and bring to flower. Your Wisteria will bloom if you follow the Sunday Gardener’s tips and video instructions.
When will wisteria bloom?
Before wisteria blooms, it often takes several years. Your Wisteria may bloom in three to five years, depending on how it was propagated, however it occasionally takes up to seven years. Furthermore, if you planted it from a seed, it might not even bloom for 15 to 25 years.
Depending on where you live and the variety you have, your Wisteria will typically bloom in the middle to end of spring once it has reached maturity. If you reside in a warmer climate, it can be in early May to early June, or even sooner. For instance, Chinese Wisteria typically begins to bloom where I reside in northern Florida in March or early April. Japanese and American wisteria often begin flowering from April through June.
Typically, the blooming period lasts two to three months, and some seasons are better than others for flower production. You shouldn’t anticipate a lot of blossoms while your wisteria is just beginning to bloom. It takes time to bloom, just as it took time to dazzle you with the explosion of flowers you see in photos online.
The wisteria plant blooms at what time of year?
Early May is often when wisterias blossom. Tendrils start to emerge from the main structural vines that you’ve connected to the cross bracing shortly after the blooming time has ended. The wisteria won’t blossom for the first several years while it is being trained since it is too young.
How often do wisteria flowers bloom?
Typically, blooms only appear once a year and adorn the vine for three weeks to two months. Special wisteria cultivars are known to bloom twice to three times within a season, though.
Does wisteria have spring blooms?
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, aggressively 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.
Is wisteria fragrant?
Wisteria is one of the best ornamental vines because of its elegant foliage, fascinating drooping seed pods, stunning fall colors, and attractive gnarled trunks and twisted branches in winter. In addition, it has pendulous racemes that hang down to form a colorful curtain of fragrant flowers in the spring and summer.
Wisterias all have a smell. Some kinds emit a musky perfume, while others smell sweet. Their scent can be light, robust, or practically overpowering. The delightful aroma of the majority of cultivars of Wisteria brachybotrys (Silky Wisteria), Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria), and Wisteria floribunda (Japanese Wisteria) is well known. The cultivars “Murasaki Kapitan” (sweet), “Okayama” (sweet), “Shiro Kapitan” (sweet), “Kuchi-Beni” (musky), “Lawrence” (sweet), “Royal Purple” (sweet), or “Jako” are among the most fragrant (musky).
What stands for wisteria?
In the majority of cultures where the plants are native, wisteria is a symbol of romance. The Wister flower, in particular in Korea, symbolizes affection that endures after death. Wisteria is seen by the Japanese as a sign of prosperity, longevity, and good fortune.
When ought wisteria to be pruned?
Twice a year, in January or February and again in July or August, wisteria is pruned. When this fast-growing climber is pruned in the summer, the long, whippy tendrils are trimmed back to five or six leaves.
The goal is to both limit the wisteria’s growth—which has a propensity to go out of control and hide behind gutters and downpipes or into roof spaces—and to direct the plant’s energy into flowering rather than leafy development.
How do I prune wisteria in winter?
The plant’s energy is further focused on developing flower-bearing spurs as a result of the pruning that is done now, in January or February. You will find that pruning is lot easier than it sounds because the plant is dormant and without leaves, which makes it simple to see what you are doing.
At this time of year, all that has to be done is to work over the climber and prune the same growths even more, this time down to two or three buds.
When you’re done, you’ll have a climber covered in stubby little spurs that are all covered in buds that will bloom in the late spring. The blossoms won’t be hidden by a tangle of leafy branches thanks to this severe pruning.
If branches are blocking doors or windows or there is old or dead vegetation on older plants, more drastic pruning may be required. Always prune just above a robust young shoot lower down and trim stems down to a major branch with the goal of leaving a frame of stems that are evenly spaced apart and cover the required area. If required, tie in more stems to close gaps.
Wisteria sinensis ‘Prolific’ is a good choice as a starter plant if you don’t already have a wisteria and want one. Try Burncoose Nurseries or Peter Beales, both of which have a large selection.
How does a wisteria look in the colder months?
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.
Is a lot of water required by wisteria?
Location is the most crucial aspect to think about when producing wisteria. Since wisteria is a twining vine, it needs a strong support and regular pruning to stay in check. Wisteria thrives in open locations with easily manicured lawns surrounding them.
Although it will withstand a variety of soil types, this vine needs deep, rich soil that is slightly damp.
About the only significant requirement for wisteria vine maintenance after planting is pruning. Wisteria doesn’t need fertilizer because it grows quickly and is drought-tolerant, so it just needs a little water.
Can wisteria be grown 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: