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.
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 trees are they simple to grow?
Flowering vines can be utilized to obscure a view, provide shade for a quiet area, and enhance the aesthetic of a post or arbor in addition to providing color throughout the year.
Due to its aggressive climbing nature, wisteria needs very strong supports in order to develop without bringing down its trellis or pergola. Be careful while growing wisteria near or onto your home since it will grow into any crack or fissure. And keep in mind that wisteria can be quite challenging to get rid of after it has grown.
Is it necessary to put wisteria in the ground?
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:
A wisteria tree: will it grow?
The invasive roots of Chinese and Japanese wisteria trees can suffocate native species in your garden. Additionally, non-native twining wisteria vines can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) per season. The fast-twisting purple vine can destroy trees and plants by obstructing their access to sunlight.
The hardy root system of non-native Chinese wisteria is another problem. Once developed, the roots might be challenging to completely eradicate. However, wisteria vines can reappear if you don’t completely remove them.
Ornamental trees are frequently less invasive than wisteria trees because regular trimming regulates their development. For instance, there are no sprawling vines that engulf fences, pergolas, or arbors. Instead, you get a tree with a single stem and a spreading canopy of lovely blossoms and rich vegetation.
Can wisteria grow on a fence?
Wisteria sinensis or W. floribunda are the two species that we grow the most frequently. The former Chinese wisteria bears its flowers prior to the development of its leaves. The blossoms of the Japanese wisteria floribunda develop simultaneously with its foliage. These details have a significant impact on the species you should choose to raise. W. sinensis thrives on vertical surfaces (house walls, fences, trellises), where its bare blossoms will be best seen. It is preferable for W. floribunda to grow up and over strong arches, arbours, and pergolas. As a result, the longer racemes (bunches of flowers) can hang down and be completely free of the leaves.
Wisterias grow best in soil that is fertile but well-drained. Even though they perform best in direct sunlight, they can tolerate little shade. They can be grown in big containers. To prevent a “rain shadow,” make sure plants are 30–40 cm away from the base when growing up a vertical surface (the dry, shaded area closest to the base of walls and fences). Back the shoot up toward the ground.
Wisteria can be grown into a free-standing specimen; more on that later.
Training wisteria as a climber
When preparing Wisteria to climb, there are only four guidelines to remember:
- In July or August, reduce the whippy shoots from the current year to just five or six leaves. This improves bud formation and speeds up wood ripening by increasing air movement and light penetration through the leaf.
- In January or February, perform a second cut, only removing two or three buds.
- Strong, taut training wires positioned horizontally along a wall or fence are used to train desired shoots. Use soft twine to secure shoots to these wires.
- If it’s necessary to remove old, diseased, or unwanted shoots, wisteria will react nicely to hard pruning. However, be cautious since shoots entwine around one another; you don’t want to unintentionally harm good, productive growth.
Training wisteria as a free-standing specimen
In your garden, grow a few free-standing wisterias for something a little different.
- Plant a wisteria with a single stem next to a reliable support (1.5m or more). The single stem should be tied in and let to extend all the way to the support’s top.
- In the first spring after it has reached the peak, cut off the single stem tip.
- Trim the upper side shoots to 15 to 30 cm in length and remove the lower side shoots. The plant now has a sturdy “head” from which to grow.
- August is the time to prune August shoots back to seven leaves once the head has gotten sufficiently woody.
- To keep your shape, trim any old, undesirable head shoots in the winter.
- To reveal flower racemes, trim March shoots back to 2.5 cm of their bases.
How quickly do wisteria trees expand?
Imagine a wall or fence that is plain with cascades of blue-purple flowers covering it. The wisteria tree puts on a spectacular display with its many scented blossoms. Make sure the porch, deck, patio, or window can all see your lovely wisteria tree. You’ll enjoy watching butterflies flit among your magnificent and distinctive tree’s lovely, deep purple flower clusters.
This tree is not only incredibly beautiful, but it also fulfills every requirement for a plant. The wisteria tree is resilient to disease, easy to grow, and tolerant of deer, drought, and different types of soil.
- wisteria with a distinctive tree shape! When fully grown, this small tree is about 10-15 feet tall and wide, making it the ideal choice for most landscapes.
- extremely abundant flowering. These flowers have gorgeous, durable blooms. Spring to early June is when they flower.
- wonderful blue-purple hue. Even while the color can vary somewhat depending on the atmosphere, from slightly more blue to slightly more purple, this particular type always has that subtle blue undertone that makes it so alluring.
- The wisteria tree is a hardy plant that requires little care, is flexible, and grows quickly. This magnificent tree is also resistant to deer, disease, and drought!
- hummingbirds and butterflies are drawn to it! Relax and take in the performance!
Pro tip: Although this tree thrives in partial shade, planting it in full sunlight will result in the best blooming.
It’s difficult to discover this wisteria tree! Before they are all gone, get yours today! For zones 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9, the wisteria tree is the ideal flowering tree.
The tiny trees known as wisteria are notorious for growing quickly, reaching heights of 3 to 5 feet annually. This tree will begin to bloom three to five years after it is planted.
This little tree grows well in grow zones 5-9. It tolerates a variety of soils and does well in full sun to part shade exposure. To accommodate a mature spread of 10–12 feet, space plants 15 feet apart.
Give this tree lots of room because it is invasive and could suffocate nearby native trees and bushes.
Make sure your Wisteria tree is planted in a location and under conditions that will allow it to grow successfully. Although spring and fall are the best periods to plant, you can grow your wisteria at any time of the year as long as the weather isn’t too harsh.
Although the wisteria tree may thrive in both full sun and partial shade, more sunlight will result in more blossoms. Wisteria are highly versatile and even drought tolerant once they have established themselves, despite preferring moist, well-drained, nutritious soil. For the first two to three months, water thoroughly with a hose around twice a week. A 2 inch layer of mulch will aid in weed control, root protection, and soil moisture maintenance. Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the spring.
Just new growth produces wisteria blooms. Therefore, pruning can help you receive the maximum blooms possible. For optimal results, prune at least half of the previous year’s growth in late winter. Pruning is needed to keep the canopy rounded.
For the first year or so after planting, your wisteria tree might need to be staked. These trees grow quickly, and their canopies can be heavy for young trees.
Your landscape will be brought to life by the wisteria tree! This tree will look great in your landscape and home! This unusual tree will anchor the corners of your house and give color, beauty, and flair unlike anything else! For a spectacular display, arrange three wisteria trees together in a corner of your yard. Around this magnificent wisteria tree, create a mixed bed, a nice cottage garden, or both.