Wisteria Growing Guide
Wisteria sinensis, Wisteria floribunda, Wisteria frutescens, Wisteria macrostachya
Crop Rotation Group
Legumes (Pea and Bean family) ●
Fertile, well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost, with a slightly acidic pH.
Full sun to part shade. Woody wisteria vines require sturdy support, and often are grown on structures that provide filtered shade.
Cold hardiness varies with species, with most wisteria hardy to -20°F (-29°C).
In early spring as new growth emerges, mulch over the root zones of the plants with rich compost or rotted manure.
Single Plants: 5' 10" (1.80m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 5' 10" (1.80m) with 5' 10" (1.80m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Set out container-grown plants from spring to early summer. Enrich the planting hole with plenty of compost and set the plant at the same depth it grew in its container. Water well after planting, and cover the root zone with a biodegradable mulch. Be patient with newly planted vines, which may grow slowly their first year. Spacing is 6 feet (2 m) between plants when multiple wisterias are planted to cover a wall or pergola. A single plant with cover a post or overhead arbor. Wisterias also can be pruned into small umbrella-shaped trees.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Tremendously popular in many temperate climates, Chinese wisteria bears masses of fragrant flower clusters in early spring. Japanese wisteria is similar, with better cold hardiness. These are well behaved vines in many areas, but they are invasive in the southern and central US. Good alternatives include American wisterias such as ‘Amethyst Falls’ or more fragrant ‘Blue Moon’ Kentucky wisteria. Unlike the Asian wisterias, which bloom only in spring, the American species often rebloom in summer when grown in hospitable sites.
Wisteria blossoms make wonderful cut flowers for tall containers. Display them out of the reach of children or pets, because all wisteria plant parts are toxic. Wisteria are exuberant woody vines that need sturdy support and annual pruning. Prune in midsummer, after the flowers have gone, removing as much growth as needed to control plant size. Plants grown on pergolas may need additional pruning in late summer to keep them from taking over outdoor living space. Propagate wisteria by rooting stem cuttings taken in summer. You also can air layer a branch by pinning it to moist ground until it develops roots.
Wisteria has few pest problems. Young plants often do not bloom for a year or two. Blossoms on mature plants are sometimes damaged by spring freezes.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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