The best seasons to plant wisteria are spring or fall, and you should put it in full sunlight to ensure that you get to view its lovely blossoms. A wet, well-draining soil is ideal for wisteria.
Can wisteria vines be purchased?
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:
Where are wisteria vines found?
The Wallflowers are vanished.
- Wallflower at Pigswick Academy
- Pegasus Place Wallflower.
- Wallflower on Tanglewood Way.
- Wallflower Library Archives
What variety of wisteria should I buy?
As long as you give the vine something to climb on, you could use nearly any variety of wisteria to successfully cover a wall in your house. However, a cultivar with shorter racemes—the term for the flower bunches—rather than extremely long, dangling blossoms would have the nicest appearance.
The finest option for a house’s walls is Wisteria sinensis. Usually, their racemes are no larger than 12 inches. The cultivar “Jako” features lovely, fragrant white flowers. Choose ‘Prolific,’ which will continue to bloom throughout the summer, if you want the classic purple blossoms.
However, it’s always a good idea to weigh native against invasive types while picking Wisteria for your home. Because wisteria is such an aggressive and invasive vine, some places don’t allow certain varieties.
Types of wisteria:
There are two varieties of wisteria: Asian and American. Although aggressive growers, Asian wisterias are well-known for their stunning blossoms. American wisterias are less aggressive and still produce beautiful blossoms. Compare the most popular wisteria varieties.
Wisteria comes in a range of colors, such as white, pink, and blue tones, in addition to the well-known purple blossoms. If you believe you have seen a yellow wisteria flower, it was probably a golden chain tree (Laburnum).
Wisterias are deciduous, which means that when the weather becomes chilly in the fall, they lose their leaves. The misunderstanding is occasionally brought on by a different vine known as evergreen wisteria (Millettia reticulata).
Avoid planting aggressive wisterias close to your home as they can cause damage and have even been known to destroy buildings.
Wisterias can be grown in full sun or partial shade, but to promote healthy bloom development, make sure the vines get at least six hours of direct sunlight everyday. If you reside in a colder area, pick a planting location that is protected because a heavy spring frost can harm the flower buds.
Create a planting hole that is the same depth as the plant and twice as wide, then level the plant with the soil surface. Because the vines will soon fill in, you should space your plants at least 10 to 15 feet apart along the support structure.
Wisterias don’t need much care once they are planted to promote healthy growth. Water frequently over the first year until the roots take hold.
After planting, wisterias could take some time to come out of dormancy and might not start to leaf until early summer. They will leaf out at the regular time the following spring, but don’t be surprised if they don’t bloom. Wisterias take three to five years to reach full maturity and may not start blooming until then.
Wisterias grow quickly and can reach heights of up to 10 feet in in one growing season. That works out well if you need to quickly cover a fence or pergola but don’t want the vines to take over your landscape. Regular pruning (once in the summer and once in the winter) not only controls wisteria’s growth but also encourages more robust flowering by creating a framework of horizontal branches and causing spurs to grow at regular intervals.
Cut back the current year’s growth to five or six leaves in July or August, or roughly two months after the plant flowers, to get rid of stray shoots and make short branches that will produce flowers the following year. Summer pruning needs to be done more frequently. Re-prune the plant in January or February while it is dormant by removing two or three buds from the growth from the previous year.
The first few years of wisteria’s growth are crucial for creating the desired framework for the plant’s development. As soon as your wisteria begins to grow, start connecting particular lateral shoots to its support structure. You should also cut down any extra growth. An aggressive pruning may be required on elder plants to promote the growth of new branches. Cut down aging branches to the main primary stem to accomplish this. The spaces will soon be filled with new side branches that can be connected back into the support structure.
Visit the Royal Horticultural Society to view a video on how to prune wisteria vines properly.
The wisteria’s rate of growth
Nothing compares to the splendor of a wisteria arbor in full bloom, but sadly, many Midwestern gardeners are unable to grow these exquisite vines.
Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese wisteria are the two varieties of wisteria that are most frequently planted in our region ( Wisteria sinensis).
Japanese wisteria is famous for its fragrant violet blooms, which are produced in clusters that range in length from 8 to 20 inches. A cluster’s individual blooms open one at a time, starting at the base.
Chinese wisteria often has clusters that are less than 12 inches long, with slightly larger individual blooms. A cluster of flowers also has a tendency to open at the same time. Chinese wisteria is less fragrant and less resilient than Japanese wisteria. Both species have cultivars that feature white blooms.
Wisteria is an aggressive twining vine that can become highly invasive in some places. Strong support is necessary for the vines to maintain their rapid growth. When wisteria is established in the right setting, it can grow up to 10 feet each year. It functions best in neutral to slightly alkaline, deep, moist, but well-drained soils.
Since the majority of gardeners are attracted to this plant for its flowers, they are very irritated by its infamous propensity to just grow greenery. This irritating issue may be caused by a variety of factors, including the plant’s immaturity, an excess of nitrogen, a deficiency in phosphorus, poor-quality plants, and an excessive amount of shadow.
Before they can start to produce flowers, Asian wisterias need to attain a certain level of maturity. In actuality, it may take the vines up to 15 years or more to bloom.
Those who have had success with wisteria frequently advise root trimming, using superphosphate, severe shoot clipping, and planting in full light. Most importantly, you should begin with high-quality plants that were grown from cuttings of plants that are known to bloom when they are still quite young. Take cuttings of the stem tips in July if you know someone who is prepared to part with a beautiful specimen. Avoid planting seedling vines since it is impossible to predict their flowering habits due to the genetic diversity of seed reproduction.
Wait until late spring or early summer to prune these vines since they develop their blossoms on last year’s wood in mid- to late May. To keep the plant manageable and regenerative, severe pruning back to three or four buds is frequently advised.
A few native species of wisteria are a little more “tame” than their Asian counterparts. These indigenous species attain flowering age earlier than Asian species because they bloom on the growth of the current season. Although they bloom slightly later in the spring, they can rebloom throughout the summer.
The 20–30 foot tall American wisteria (W. frutescens) blooms its flowers in 4-6 inch long, compact clusters. The most popular cultivar, “Amethyst Falls,” has fragrant lavender-blue blooms. Although ‘Nivea’ has longer clusters of white blossoms, it is less aromatic.
Wisteria macrostachys, which grows in Kentucky, produces flower clusters that are 8 to 12 inches long and densely covered with blossoms. Some people believe this to be an American wisteria subspecies. The hardy Minnesota cultivar “Blue Moon” has incredibly fragrant blossoms that start to develop in June and continue throughout the summer. Both ‘Aunt Dee’ and ‘Clara Mack’ have blooms that are a light lavender color.
Where should a wisteria plant be planted?
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.