Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae (Leguminosae), that includes ten species of woody climbing vines that are native to China, Korea, and Japan and as an introduced species to the Eastern United States. Some species are popular ornamental plants.
Wisterias are beautiful twining climbers with beautifully scented flowers in shades of white, blue, purple and pink. Wisteria is ideal for training into trees and covering walls, pergolas and other garden structures.
Wisteria flowers are beautifully fragrant, providing a feast for the senses. After flowering, a brown, bean-like pod stays on the plant until winter. Blooms only appear on new wood.
The charms of wisteria are almost impossible to resist. Lounging languorously over a fence or pergola, the perennial flowering vine will beckon to you with her heady perfume. Before you know it, her nodding, pendulous blooms have hypnotized you. Soon you are rushing to the nearest garden center, determined to own her, but be warned. This climber has a mind of her own.
Wisteria is a vining plant with cascades of blue to purple flowers that look spectacular hanging from a pergola or archway in spring and early summer.
With wisteria, you decide the size and shape. Don’t be afraid to prune them aggressively. You won’t hurt them. Is one of the most spectacular of spring-blooming perennials. With its abundance of foot-long pannicles of flowers—most commonly lilac-blue—it is a traffic stopper.
Wisteria is easily grown. In fact, the usual complaint about it is that it is too easily grown—and can be difficult to control.
Because of these exuberant growth habits, wisteria is a good planting for “problem” areas, bearing in mind that it requires full sun if you want it to bloom.
This climber has a mind of her own.
It has been named as ‘The largest blossoming plant in the world.’ This amazing wisteria vine is more than one acre in size and weighs 250 tons. It has more than 1.5 million blossoms every year with 40 blooms per square foot. The branches of this unbelievable wisteria vine reach an amazing 500 feet long.”
And they aren’t that difficult to control, especially if you’ve made a wise choice as to the location of the planting. Wise choices as to location include places where you can easily mow around the base of the vine/tree.
It should be in a location where any rambunctious tendencies are noticed early. An island bed surrounded by other flowering plants is a good location, since such an area will get regular maintenance.
- One of the most frequent complaints about wisteria is that the darned thing doesn’t bloom for many years after planting—and sometimes that mature wisterias do not bloom at all, ever.
IF YOUR WISTERIA DOES NOT BLOOM IN A TIMELY FASHION
Here are the usual causes of failure to bloom and suggested solutions:
1. Wisterias grown from seed are said to often take as long as 15 years to bloom, so most sources say you should grow wisteria only from grafted plants or cuttings of cultivated varieties of proven floriferousness and early bloom.
2. Wisterias that are slow to bloom can often be coaxed into bloom by a fairly hard pruning. An old, neglected plant may need very hard pruning. As a desperation measure for old and stubborn non-bloomers, root pruning is often suggested—where you dig around the plant with a shovel to sever some of the roots.
3. Wisterias should not be fertilized with nitrogen, as this tends to produce heavy foliage growth and no flowers. The best fertilizer for wisterias is phosphorus, in the form of bone meal or some other form of phosphorus. For this reason, if your wisteria is the centerpiece of a flowerbed, give the wisteria a little space so that you can fertilize the flowers without giving the wisteria a dose.
Alternatively, if you have flowers planted near your wisteria, hold off fertilizing them until the wisteria is already blooming. Of course, the spring bloomers—such as iris, English daisies, creeping phlox, and dianthus—flowers that need to be fertilized in early spring to produce a good display—should not be planted too close to wisteria.
4. Wisterias need full sun. They won’t bloom in full or part shade.
GROWING WISTERIAS FROM SEED
Once your wisteria begins to bloom, it will produce large seed pods, which you may find useful for craft projects. But inside the seed pods are large seeds that are easy to germinate. The germination rate is pretty close to 100%.
Clearly, some seed-grown plants bloom young.
GROWING WISTERIAS FROM CUTTINGS
If you’d like to give away wisterias—or feel you’d like another plant or two for yourself—it is equally easy to grow wisteria from cuttings. This approach will assure you of producing a new tree or vine that will not take forever to bloom.
Take cuttings from green softwood in late spring or summer. Cuttings should be 6-8 inches long and have a few sets of leaves. Remove leaves from the lower half of the cutting, but keep two or three sets of leaves on the top half.
The places where leaves were removed (leaf nodes) are where the roots will develop. Trim the bottom of the cutting so that the lowest node where leaves were removed is ½ to ¼ inch from the bottom end of the cutting. Make this bottom cut at an angle.
Make a 2-inch deep hole in a moist soilless potting mixture. If you are using a 6-inch pot, you can fit up to five cuttings in one pot—and taking several cuttings is good insurance. Separate pots for each cutting may be the best idea, since you may want to grow them on in pots to avoid planting out in very hot or dry weather, or you may want to give some away, if they all come to good.
Put the bottom ends of the cuttings into the holes and firm the soil around them. Cover the pot with plastic. A 2-liter plastic soda bottle with the bottom cut out will work to cover a 6-inch pot, or you can use a plastic bag supported by sticks, so that the plastic can’t come in contact with the leaves.
Put the potted cutting in a sunny spot, but out of direct sunlight, and water regularly to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out. The cuttings should root in 4-8 weeks.
Once the cuttings have rooted, it would be best to grow them on in pots, gradually hardening them off (while making sure they have plenty of water). Usually it is too hot, and sometimes too dry, for successful transplanting into the ground in mid and late summer. It’s best to wait for the heat to break before planting out in the early fall. Make sure to water the newly planted cuttings regularly, once they’re planted out.
Wisteria plants grown from stem cuttings can be expected to bloom in 2-3 years, at which point you will be the envy of the neighborhood.
Cuttings of wisteria need to be taken from the softwood. This is wood that is still green and has not developed woody bark. The cutting should be about 3-6 inches long and have at least 2 sets of leaves on the cutting.