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Wisteria Care Guide

Updated on May 11, 2015

Wisteria is a plant with gorgeous blooms. It's something between a shrub and a vine and blossoms in spring. The cascading flowers offer cover from your neighbours or cool shade in the hot days. The camouflage of the wisteria makes any garden or balcony look lavish and mesmerizing.

However, this climbing plant can take its time when it comes to producing posh blooms. Newly planted species may need up to 6 years to flower. Others need even more. Here's how to grow your own wisteria and how to take care for it so you can enjoy the rich blossoms.


The Perfect Location

This cascading plant can be grown indoors and outdoors. You can plant in containers or directly in the ground. The wisteria requires a fertile, moist soil with adequate draining. You can pick a shady spot in your garden, but if you want to admire its flowers remember that the sun is a must. Pick a place that receives enough sunlight during the day.


The best time to plant your vine is in spring or autumn. After you pick the perfect spot for your wisteria, you need to dig a hole. Make it about two or three times bigger than the root ball of the plant. Place it inside and cover with dirt. If the soil is too poor on nutrients, you can add compost to it. The wisteria isn't a picky plant, since it can grow in almost any conditions, but some extra nutrients won't hurt. However, make sure there aren't a lot of other plants near by since the wisteria is considered invasive and sometimes classified as a pest.

Wisteria Care

It's not that hard to grow a wisteria plant. There are a few things you should remember when it comes to proper care.

  • If you want to keep weeds away and maintain moisture levels, apply a thin layer of mulch around the vine each spring.
  • According to gardeners around Didcot, phosphorus helps boost the flowering. Pour a couple of cups of bone meal directly in to the soil before the wisteria begins to bloom in spring. When autumn arrives, add some rock phosphate and you will notice the difference during the next blooming season.
  • You need to water your vine once per week if it doesn't rain often in your area. Sometimes it gets really hot in the summer, so remember to be more generous with the water this time of the year.
  • Provide support for the cascading vine. The wisteria needs some help to stand tall in high winds. After you plant it, push a wooden stake in to the soil, next to your green. Try not to damage the roots. Use plastic tie tape to secure the plant's trunk to the stake. As it grows bigger, you will need to change the size of the supporting stake. Don'r forget to check if the trunk is tied too tight, because this will damage it.
  • Don't use a lot of fertiliser. The wisteria doesn't need a lot of fertilizing. This can hinder the plant from producing enchanting blossoms. However, if your soil is too poor, you can give your vine some boost with a few drops of fertilizer.
  • You need to take care for your wisteria during the winter, too. There are some place where it gets really cold and you need to keep the plant safe from freezing. During the first few years after you plant your vine, you should protect the main stem. Use a piece of plastic tubing to secure the trunk. Make a cut from one end to another and wrap the tube round the stem. Just make sure that it's not too small for your plant. When the wisteria gets older, tie the branches together with twine. This will prevent any damage caused by wind or ice.


Pruning Wisteria

The key to rich blossoms is the proper pruning. It should be carried out in winter. Remove half of the prior year's growth and leave only a few beds on each stem. You can also trim your wisteria in the summer to achieve a more modest look and encourage blooming. If your vine is newly planted, you can go ahead and remove a lot of the branches. Remove most of the branches. On the following year, you should prune the main stem and make it smaller than the previous year. By the time summer arrives, the should be back in full growth. This is the best time to trim new extensions if you want to witness a second flowering season. Just remember not to go overboard and prune the wisteria severely. You might damage some young shoots and prevent them from blooming in the next couple of years.

Potential Problems

This cascading plant isn't spared from pests and problems. If you don't prune it properly, it might become invasive and take over your whole garden. Unwanted seedlings may pop up where they aren't supposed to be. Make sure you check if your wisteria is from the invasive species.

Sometimes the wisteria gets attacked by different diseases. The most common ones are dieback, leaf spots, and crown gall. There are also perky pests like the Japanese beetle, aphids, leaf miners, and mealybugs that like feast on your blooming vine. There are a lot of home-made insecticide recipes that you can you to fight these intruders.

All parts of the wisteria, including seeds and blooms are poisonous to both humans and animals. There is no one in their right mind that will try to eat them, but if you grow a wisteria in your garden, keep your kids and pets away.

Wisteria attacked by leaf spot disease
Wisteria attacked by leaf spot disease

Wisteria Varieties

The most common varieties of the wisteria vine are:

Wisteria floribunda, known as Japanese wisteria, is native to Japan and grows up to 9m. It's a woody, deciduous climber and has more than 10 cultivars that bloom in different colours. The popular ones are "Honbeni", blooms in pale pink flowers with purple tips; "Shiro Noda" with cascading white blossom clusters; "Black Dragon" with deep purple coloured flowers.

Wisteria sinensis, the Chinese wisteria, comes from China and was introduced to the USA and the rest of the world in 1830's. It's a climbing vine but can be trained to look like a tree. It twines counterclockwise and can get up to 20 m long. The preferred cultivars are "Alba" with its fragrant white flowers and "Sierra Madre" that has lavender violet blooms with white centers.

Hobeni wisteria
Hobeni wisteria
Shiro Noda Wisteria
Shiro Noda Wisteria
Black Dragon Wisteria
Black Dragon Wisteria


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I love seeing wisteria on a trellised support such as what was shown in the first 2 photos. Sometimes I see it in wild areas growing up as a vine among trees and other shrubs. It was probably spread by bird droppings I am guessing. Growing it and training it to appear as a tree probably takes dedication and lots of correct pruning techniques. I did not realize that all parts of the plants are poisonous. Thanks for the information.