The beautiful perennial climber wisteria dazzles each spring with a luxuriant explosion of blossoms in hues of purple, blue, or white. They are robust growers with a lifespan of over 50 years, but without the right training and care, they may easily turn into a nuisance. How can you train Wisteria and keep it under control when it seems like they will climb anything nearby?
Wisteria will practically climb anything that it can, such as trees, buildings, fences, sheds, and more. As long as the building can hold its weight, wisteria will grow. You may train the plant to climb up any firm structure, grow into a shrub or tree, or do both.
The growth cycle of wisteria and all relevant information regarding its climbing habits are covered in this article. I’ll also go through various climbing techniques you can teach your Wisteria and some things you should never allow it to do.
How is wisteria fastened to the wall?
on a wall. Wisteria should be trained as an espalier with horizontal support wires (3mm galvanized steel) spaced 30 cm (1 ft) apart for the best results when grown against a wall. Plants will develop a robust spur system with time and twice-yearly trimming.
The ideal wisteria for walls is which?
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.
The vast array of qualities supplied by Wisteria species and their cultivars in terms of bloom season, smell, length of flower clusters (racemes), blossom hues, and fall foliage is generally unknown to gardeners.
While most wisterias would be functional and lovely planted in this way if you wanted to cover a wall, the short-racemed wisterias would be more successful. The species best suited for walls is Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria), where its shortish racemes are advantageously presented.
How is wisteria grown adjacent to a wall?
Wisterias should be trained as an espalier with horizontal support wires (3mm galvanized steel) spaced 45cm (18″) apart for best results when growing them against a wall. As an alternative, you may train them to climb a strong pergola or perhaps a tree. It is best to attach supports before planting because it will be much more difficult to do so after the wisteria has been planted.
Plant your wisteria in the spring or fall. To increase the soil’s fertility and drainage before to planting, add a lot of well-rotted manure or garden compost to the area. Because you’ll be sharing your home with the plant for a very long time, it’s critical to take the time to establish perfect soil conditions for your wisteria from the very beginning.
Use the depth at which it was planted in the pot as a guide for planting your wisteria outside. If you’re planting a bare-root wisteria, check the base of the stem for a soil mark that shows the depth at which the plant was inserted into the ground at the nursery. This is typically located just below the graft point, which is a bulge in the stem where the rootstock and main plant are joined.
Wisteria can it climb on brick?
Wisteria vines do not cling, stick, or adhere, hence they cannot harm a brick wall, as stated by CWBYNCMH. They wrap a support in their web. Over time, the branches will become heavier, and as wood easily corrodes, metal supports are typically the best option.
Can I grow wisteria near my home?
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.
How is wisteria made to climb?
Although wisteria is excellent for covering an arbor or pergola, it is easier to manage if the vines are trained. But keep in mind that different varieties of wisteria vines may have distinct twining traits. For instance, the Japanese variety of wisteria (W. floribunda) twines clockwise while the Chinese variant (W. sinensis) twined counterclockwise.
Select an erect stem and affix it to the specified support while training wisteria vines. As you continue to train the main vine upward, remove any side shoots. By affixing them where desired, new side branches can be trained as needed to fill in gaps in the support framework. Keep these side branches at a distance of about 18 inches (45.5 cm) apart for optimal results. Pinch off or remove the main vine tip of the wisteria once it has grown to the correct height to prevent further development.
Even trained wisteria vines need frequent pruning to prevent them from quickly encroaching on everything in their path. It’s crucial to understand when and how to prune wisteria. Although wisteria benefits from regular trimming of new shoots throughout its growing season, considerable pruning is also necessary in late fall or winter to keep the vine manageable. Cut back the side branches to about a foot (0.5 m) from the main trunk and remove any dead wood or crowded branches. Eliminate any suckers from its base as well.
Your home is damaged by wisteria.
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.
Exists a wisteria that isn’t invasive?
Compact native wisteria blossoms can be seen twining on a Charleston, South Carolina, home’s gate.
Have you fought the invasive wisteria for half your life? Don’t give up; it has 200 years to catch up. While Wisteria floribunda was brought to the country in the 1830s, Wisteria sinensis arrived in America in 1816. “Floribunda is a fitting term for this invasive species as it is both floral and monstrously prolific. They were both brought here by well-meaning plant explorers from China and Japan, respectively. Do you hear a knock on your door? Surprise! A wisteria runner is poised to eat your banister. Your refrigerator just opened? Oh, it’s just a hungry wisteria sucker, I see. That garden gate made of iron? snapped by our pal floribunda like a chicken bone.
Wisteria that spreads quickly is perfect in today’s world of immediate pleasure. It continues to expand without stopping. After a harsh winter, the heady aroma and profusion of purple blossoms are a wonderful sign of spring. So go ahead and plant some as long as you have machete-wielding gardening security on hand constantly and/or don’t need to sleep at night. There is a wonderful alternative for those of us who cannot afford a horticultural army.
A calmer option to Asian wisteria that is native to the Southeast of the United States is Wisteria frutescens. We enquired further about this underappreciated natural gem from Peggy Cornett, the Monticello’s plant curator. She claims that by the year 1780, this hardy vine was being grown in America. It was dubbed the “Carolina Kidney Bean Tree” and was grown by Lady Jean Skipwith, a passionate gardener and plantswoman in the late eighteenth century, in her garden at Prestwould in rural south-central Virginia. In honor of his friend and mentor Caspar Wistar (1761–1818), a Philadelphia physician and paleontologist, botanist Thomas Nuttall gave the genus “wisteria” his name. However, the early nineteenth century’s introduction of the bloom-heavy Chinese and Japanese types overwhelmed interest in native wisteria.
It’s simple to identify those enlightened souls who have embraced native wisteria in G&G’s Charleston, South Carolina, headquarters. With shorter, more compact clusters of dark purple blossoms, Wisteria frutescens blooms reach their best in late spring and early summer, frequently after the Asian variety starts to fade. One such instance is the property on Tradd Street where the frutescens seen above was taken; a young vine is clinging to the iron gate. Unlike invasive wisteria, which can occasionally take up to 10 years to bloom, native wisteria develops quickly and typically blooms after the first year. Wisteria frutescens is the creeper for you if you are inspired to have wisteria in your landscaping but also want to prevent your house from being pulled off its foundation.
Will wisteria grow on a trellis?
Wisterias thrive in full light, fertile soil, and both. Of the 10 species, three are grown the most frequently: Wisteria brachybotrys, Wisteria sinensis, and Wisteria floribunda, which are native to China, Japan, and the eastern United States (silky wisteria). All three species have significant growth rates and can extend out to a maximum of 20 meters (66 feet) against a wall or around 10 meters (33 feet) in trees. Wisteria can also be trained to grow as a free-standing standard in a big container or border.
Wisterias for pergolas and arches
The Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) is best exhibited hanging down from a garden structure like a pergola or arch since it has the longest flower sprays (or racemes) of all the species. They entwine in a clockwise motion while simultaneously bearing blooms and leaves. Lilac blue blooms and racemes as long as 1.2 meters (4 feet) are produced by Wisteria floribunda f. multijuga AGM in the early summer.
Wisterias for walls
Wisteria sinensis, often known as Chinese wisteria, blooms in the springtime before the leaves do. For example, Wisteria sinensis ‘Amethyst’ AGM has violet blue blooms with a reddish flush produced in dense racemes to 30cm (1ft) long in late spring or early summer. They twine anticlockwise and the racemes are shorter so they are best presented against a wall.
Silky wisteria (Wisteria brachybotrys), which can be grown against walls or on pergolas, with downy leaves and small racemes of 10-15cm (4-6in). White flowers with center yellow markings, a strong perfume, and 10-15 cm tall sprays of wisteria brachybotrys f. albiflora ‘Shiro-kapitan’ AGM bloom in the spring and early summer.
If you want to cultivate a wisteria in a big container
It is best to choose Wisteria fructens ‘Amethyst Falls’ because of its compact habit and rich clusters of lilac-blue blooms.
Always choose a wisteria that has been grown from cuttings or by grafting when purchasing one because seed-raised wisterias flower less consistently and take longer to bloom. The graft union should be seen as a swelling close to the stem’s base. Unlike species, named cultivars are virtually always grafted. Purchase your wisteria in flower or go with a specific cultivar to avoid disappointment.
Wisterias are offered for sale as container-grown plants at garden centers and online, and you can use the RHS Find a Plant tool to locate particular cultivars.
Wisteria should ideally be planted between October and April. Wisterias grown in containers can be planted at any time of the year, but fall and winter are the easiest times to maintain. Give them healthy, well-drained soil to plant in.
Wisterias bloom best in full sun, so pick a wall or pergola that faces south or west. Although blossoming will be diminished, they will still grow in light shade.
Wisterias are robust climbers that can grow to a height and width of more than 10 meters (33 feet). You’ll need to give support in the form of wires, trellises, or outside buildings like pergolas or arches against a wall. Wisteria can also be grown up a support or taught up a tree to create a standard. A wisteria can be grown in a border or container by being trained into a standard, which reduces its vigor.
If you want to grow your wisteria in a container, you’ll need a sizable one that is at least 45 cm (18 in) in diameter and is filled with potting soil with a loam basis, like John Innes No. 3.
Use Growmore or Fish, Blood and Bone on your wisteria in the spring at the suggested rate listed on the packet. Additionally, apply sulphate of potash at a rate of 20g per sq m (1/2 oz per sq yard) on sandy soils (which have low potassium levels). Fertilizers for flowering shrubs or roses are another option.
Feed wisteria in containers using Miracle-Gro, Phostrogen, or another comparable flowering plant food. A different option is to add controlled-release fertilizer to the compost.
Although wisteria has a reputation for being challenging to prune, this is untrue. Once you’ve made it a habit to prune your wisteria twice a year, you should be rewarded with a pleasing flower show.
When you prune regularly, you reduce the excessive, whippy growth from July and August to five to six leaves, or roughly 30 cm (1ft). This increases the possibility of blossom buds budding and permits the wood to ripen. Then, in February, trim these shoots even more to two or three buds, or around 10 cm (4 in), to tidy up the plant before the growing season starts and make it possible to observe the new flowers.
When your juvenile wisteria has completely covered a wall or other garden structure, start the routine pruning to promote flowering.
Small gardens benefit greatly from the training of wisteria as a free-standing standard in a border or container.
Wisteria can be trained to ascend into a tiny tree’s canopy, however doing so could eventually harm the tree. Pruning will be challenging if the plant develops into a huge tree, and a dense leaf canopy will affect flowering.
Increase your wisteria stocks by layering in the summer, taking softwood cuttings in the spring to mid-summer, or taking hardwood cuttings in the winter since seed-raised wisteria can take up to 20 years to flower.
Wisteria is typically propagated via grafting in professional nurseries, however layering is the simplest and most dependable technique for home gardeners.
Established wisteria can produce hanging, bean-like seedpods after a lengthy summer. While wisteria plants grown from seeds are typically of inferior quality, you might want to try growing wisteria yourself.
- After the leaves have fallen, gather the seedpods and let them ripen in an open tray.
- When the seed is ready, twist open the pod and sow it 2 cm (3/4 in) deep in seed compost.
- Before planting if the seed is dry, soak it for 24 hours.
See our commonly asked questions page for a summary of wisteria issues.
Poor flowering is the most frequent issue for backyard gardeners, and it can be brought on by a variety of factors, such as:
- Young plants can take up to 20 years to flower, so acquire a plant that is already in bloom or go with a certain cultivar because they are typically grafted to avoid disappointment.
- Examine your pruning methods and timing because early and midsummer trimming will prevent the growth of flowers the next year.
- Wisteria flowers best in broad light; deep shadow produces few, if any, flowers.
- Water your wisteria during periods of drought from July to September because a lack of water during this time will influence the development of flower buds the next year.
- Flower buds may drop before opening as a result of spring frosts, which can harm or deform growing flowers.
- Applying sulphate of potash in the spring will encourage bloom production for the next year in soils that may lack potassium.
- The damage caused by pigeons or mice can be identified by torn petals or distinctive teeth marks.