The American wisteria can reach lengths of 20 to 30 feet. It is a vine that twines. Twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support helps twining vines rise. This kind of vine thrives on wires, arbors, trellises, and chain-link fences.
Clusters of purple, pea-like blooms. The clusters are shorter than those of Asian species, measuring 5 to 6 inches. They have a light scent. Mid-summer is when flowers are created.
Although it thrives in full light, this vine will also tolerate little shade. The ideal soil is moist, well-drained, and somewhat acidic. Prevent compacting. For the first five to 10 years, wisteria frequently don’t produce blossoms. Use phosphorus-rich fertilizer as directed on the label and nitrogen fertilizer sparingly to promote flowering. Pruning done correctly will also promote flowering. After flowering, cut down any extra growth to 6 inches. These trimmed stems will keep developing. Cut them once more in the winter, leaving two to three buds on each stem. In addition to promoting flowering, proper pruning also aids in controlling the vine’s size and shape. Wisteria vines weigh a lot and need strong supports.
Wisteria can be grown in the Midwest.
A show-stopping spring garden feature is lush wisteria covered with plump flowers. Read up on how to pick and train one before committing to this aggressive vine. Then you won’t have to deal with the problems that come with a pushy plant while you enjoy its delicious blooms.
Wisteria can endure the winter.
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.
What degree of heat can wisteria withstand?
Wisteria species also exhibit a wide range of behavior. One of the finest methods to manage this plant is to get off to the right start. American and Asian versions are available. The Asian people appear to be the more exuberant and likely to get out of control of the two. See the illustrations below.
- Japanese wisteria vines like the Wisteria Floribunda can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet. In ideal circumstances (i.e., in the southern US), it may even grow taller.
- Late April sees the blooming of headily perfumed pink blossoms on the exquisite wisteria variety Honbeni or Honko.
- Late spring flowering Shiro Noda or Alba produces massive flower clusters of brilliantly white blossoms.
Although these varieties of wisteria are not native to the US, they flourish in great numbers here. You should plant and keep an eye on these kinds carefully because they appear to be very easy to become invasive and are hardy in zones 5 to 9.
Some American varieties of Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) don’t act like invasive species. This cultivar is indigenous to several states in North America. It produces lots of purple, blue, or lilac blooms together with dark green foliage.
The blossoms of this plant only appear on new wood, unlike their Asian cousins, and have no perfume. It can reach a maximum length of 30 feet and is hardy in zones 5 to 9.
Another native American plant, Kentucky Wisteria, thrives in zones 4 through 9. It resembles American Wisteria quite a bit. Furthermore, this type blooms earlier than any other since it establishes very effectively after only a few years.
A cultivar of Kentucky Wisteria with silver or blue blossoms is called as Blue Moon. Both in late spring and again in the summer, Blue Moon blooms. It is from a particularly hardy type and can withstand low temperatures of up to 40 °F (under zero °C).
What states are able to support wisteria?
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.
What distinguishes a wisteria tree from a wisteria vine?
Do wisteria vines and trees differ from one another? I’ve been looking for a place to buy a tree because I’ve seen photographs. I’m always being pointed toward the vine, though. Any information would be helpful.
“Wisteria is a deciduous twining climber native to China, Japan, and eastern United States; there is no botanical distinction between a Wisteria vine and a Wisteria tree. British Royal Horticultural Society The training and trimming make a difference. The tree form is a wonderful choice for planting Wisteria in a smaller garden because it has a 30-foot growth potential and may be rather aggressive. These two websites demonstrate how to shape a wisteria vine into either the traditional or tree form. There is also a link to instructions on growing wisteria.
After a freeze, will wisteria reemerge?
Wisteria usually survives freezing conditions, although blooms, buds, and leaves might not. Your plant may emerge from dormancy and begin producing new growth if you experience a severe frost or freeze, particularly if it occurs later than usual or after a warm time. This growth will be lost for a while if it is frozen.
As long as the main vines don’t freeze or become black, the plant should be fine. By lightly scraping the bark with your fingernail, you can always determine if there is life there. The plant is still alive if there is some green showing underneath. If a portion of the vine is completely brown, it cannot be revived because it is dead.
Your vine might not start producing buds or blooms again for several weeks, months, or even the entire following growth season after a freeze. Wisteria can be picky when it comes to flowering, so any additional strain on the plant could affect the process.
After a freeze, if your wisteria seems brown and dry, you should wait a few weeks before trimming it. The plants occasionally return on their own without any help. Chopping away growth when it’s unnecessary can lead to cutting away this year’s buds. Long-term damage to the plant wouldn’t result from doing this, but nobody wants to forfeit their flowers.
When does wisteria become too cold?
While in their winter dormancy, wisteria are unaffected by cold temperatures; in fact, certain varieties and cultivars of the plant can withstand temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit. When a plant, which blooms on growth from the previous season, buds or begins to put on leaves in a warm early spring, and then temps drop below freezing, that’s when problems arise. You can reduce the amount of blackened vine tips and buds on your wisteria after a freeze by planting it in a protected location, such as a western or southern exposure close to a structure that protects it from wind or next to a masonry wall that vents heat absorbed during the day.