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.
Is it possible to grow wisteria close 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, 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.
How can you defend wisteria from the house?
I usually move quickly past my wisteria with little fear, and occasionally when I speak to it, I tell it, “You are a plant. The human is me. I am in command. But until I came out with a flawless method to control it, neither the wisteria nor I really believed it to be the case.
Not getting wisteria to grow is the difficult part
It enjoys poor soil, direct sunlight, and the side of your house, but there are ways to teach it to grow well next to the house. Wisteria needs the assistance of a sturdy trellis system for that.
Wisteria tendrils will wrap themselves around any available supports in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. I used substantial stainless steel components to build a grid system at my home so that the wisteria could thrive.
The grid’s components include affordable hardware purchases (you can also buy them online from Sears). I spent $1.99 per 3.75-inch-long stainless steel Lag Eye Bolt (Top), $62 for a 125-foot spool of stainless steel cable, and $24.05 for a box of ten stainless steel turnbuckles.
Once your trellis is set up, you may train it to grow next to the grid by tying individual branches to the cable. Pruning wisteria ferociously will keep it in check. Trim side shoots along major branches to a length of 3 inches in the fall and winter.
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.
How can wisteria be stopped from growing?
Pruning wisteria twice a year is the best approach to prevent it from growing out of control. After the flowers have faded in the early to mid-summer and when the shoots from this year’s growth begin to look untidy, the first pruning should be done. The goal is to remove undesired shoots or suckers and to keep new development close to the main vine as follows:
- Trim fresh growth shoots to a length of 6 inches.
- Suckers at the roots should be removed.
- Cut off any sprouts that the vine’s main support structure doesn’t require.
Since flowers only appear on one-year-old growth, this pruning strategy not only keeps the vine in a tight shape but also enables the blooms to be seen the following year.
Can wisteria damage a fence?
Although wisterias (Wisteria synensis) are prized for their profusions of delicate blossoms, the weight of their vines need a substantial support system. Wisterias are tough in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8, but they can harm fences, trees, and even structures like gutters.
Can the roots of wisteria harm pipes?
Wisteria develops into a huge, mature vine that could grow to be at least 100 feet long. The sturdy stems develop into massive, twisted trunks that are strong enough to topple fences and arbors. It should therefore come as no surprise that mature Wisteria likewise possesses massive, aggressive root systems.
Wisteria vines require substantial roots to anchor the plant because they grow to be so big and heavy. As a result, the root systems spread widely beneath the surface. Wisteria roots can extend up to ten feet deep in old vines that have been growing for many years. Wisteria roots normally grow two to three feet deep. If you grow the vine too close to existing buildings or underground plumbing, wisteria roots may become an issue. However, if the roots encounter something beneath the earth, they will typically work their way around it or proceed in a different direction.
The majority of farmers that experience issues with their wisteria discover that the problem is above ground as opposed to below ground. The roots of wisteria are more likely to grow straight down than outwardly very far. Because the plant climbs, the tendrils and foliage receive the majority of the developing energy. Wisteria can, however, produce suckers from the root system, which you should cut off as soon as you see them to keep the vine in its proper place.
Potential Damage from Wisteria Roots
In rare instances, planting wisteria vines in the incorrect position might result in damage from the vine’s roots. Wisteria is a woody vine, so while it doesn’t often cause issues like big tree roots may, it can nonetheless slink into unfavorable spaces.
There is always a chance that the root system of your Wisteria could harm your septic tank, irrigation system piping, or other underground pipelines, drains, or structures. Wisteria roots, however, aren’t as harmful as some other plants whose roots actively grow outward.
Although uncommon, bigger problems like foundation damage or subsidence are possible. Wisteria roots are unlikely to cause significant harm to your foundation or walls unless you reside in a very old house with flimsy structural underpinnings.
The only possible exception is if your soil is clay-based. Several instances of mature Wisteria roots drying up the soil, causing it to crack, or otherwise weakening the clay in small portions underneath the foundation have been reported. This might result in some little localized settling, but it’s always a good idea to consult a professional if you think your foundation may have been harmed.
There are numerous instances of enormous Wisteria vines flourishing along the brick walls of buildings all around the world. In other situations, the building isn’t being lifted off its foundation or being made to crumble by the roots. It’s actually simply another illustration of Wisteria’s reputation for aggression. When it comes to wisteria, you should concentrate more on managing the growth above ground than you should be concerned about the roots buried in the earth.
Is it dangerous to touch wisteria?
Wisteria Wisteria has a seductive charm, but did you know that it is only mildly harmful to cats and dogs? Its seeds, in particular, are harmful in every way.