My beautiful wisteria is in full bloom right now and was the inspiration for today’s mastering gardening (MG) series topic.
How To Plant, Grow and Care for Wisteria
Grow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Full sun will ensure flowering, but can plant in partial sun for the greenery to cover a arbor, pergola etc. Wisteria will grow in most soils and dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. should be planted in
Each spring, apply a layer of compost under the plant and a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Some gardeners swear by phosphorus to aid flowering. Scratch a couple of cups of bone meal into the soil in the spring and then add some rock phosphate in the Fall.
Water your plants if you receive less than one inch of rain each week, check here to see how to determine.
Pruning is the secret to good flowering. You can prune in late winter removing at least half of the prior year’s growth, leaving just a few buds per stem. If you want more formal blooms prune again after traditional flowering.
For more blooms, try cutting back the rampant shoots every two weeks during the summer. I prune my wisteria HARD after the first bloom, when the new growth fills in it should bloom again. Next I prune again after this bloom and at the end of the season I will again get more blooms but not anywhere near as many as the first bloom.
If you are planting a new wisteria cut the vine back severely right after planting. Then, the next year, cut the main stem or stems back to 3 feet of the previous season’s growth. Once the framework is full size, shorten further extension growth in midsummer to where growth began for that season.
Informally grown, mature plants need little or no subsequent pruning. For a formally trained plant, cut side shoots back to 6 inches in summer, then shorten them again in winter to 3 buds.
Wisteria will re-sprout with vigor if cut back severely, but this pruning should be avoided, if possible, because new shoots may take some years before they flower.
The Wisteria trunk can get very large…
The photo shows how large the base can become, it’s almost a small tree, and the branches are quite large too. So make sure you have a secure enough base to hold your wisteria. Wisteria can become invasive, but can be control by removing offshoots.
I planted a clematis at the base to provide flowering later in the summer.
W. floribunda (Zones 5 to 9) of Japanese origin, is capable of growing 30 to 60 feet (and beyond in the South).
‘Honbeni’ (syn. ‘Honko’) is a favorite, bearing clusters of pink flowers in late spring.
‘Alba’ (syn. ‘Shiro Noda’) bears lovely clusters of pure-white clusters; it blooms in late spring.
W. macrostachya (Zones 4 to 9) or Kentucky wisteria is a late-season bloomer. It climbs to about 25 feet.
‘Blue Moon’ is an extra-hardy wisteria with silvery-blue clusters and blooms in late spring and often again in the summer
Wit & Wisdom
Wisteria still not blooming? Some readers have sworn by this method: Take a shovel and drive it eight to ten inches into the ground about a foot and a half out from the trunk to slice into some of the roots. Damage about 1/2 of the roots and the bush will be shocked into reproduction. It is very difficult to hurt this rampantly-growing, unrestrained, often invasive plant.
Having a smaller garden in size, I use many vines in my garden, Dutchman’s Breeches, Clematis, Akebia, Porcelain Berry Vine and Rose. But when Wisteria is in bloom nothing can compare.
Do you use vines in your garden?