Wisterias is a vigorous, delicately climber and one of the most spectacular spring-blooming perennials. Their fragrant purple flowers provide scent and color to the garden in springtime.
Plant this deciduous climber near to entrances, doorways or paths. They look spectacular hanging from a pergola or archway in early summer.
Choosing a Wisteria
The fragrant wisterias are native to China, Japan and eastern United States. The three most commonly grown are Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria), Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) and Wisteria brachybotrys (silky wisteria).
These species are strong-growing and can reach around 10m (33ft) in trees or spread up to 20m (66ft) against a wall.
1. Wisteria floribunda 'Royal Purple' (Japanese wisteria)
Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) have the longest flower racemes of all the species and the flowers are sweetly scented.
They are best displayed hanging down from a garden structure like a pergola or arch.
Blooming in late spring or early summer.
Thrives in full sun or part shade and they are drought tolerant.
A reliable choice for gardeners in northern climates.
2. Wisteria sinensis 'Prolific' (Chinese wisteria)
Chinese wisteria's blooms appear before its foliage in late spring to early summer, making a spectacular display in spring.
'Prolific' bears flowers are much fuller and much more abundant.
They are best displayed against a wall.
Thrives in full sun or part shade and they are drought tolerant
3. Wisteria brachybotrys (silky wisteria)
What makes Wisteria brachybotrys different compared to other wisterias are its silky leaves, that are creamy white with a yellowish spot in the centre.
Fragrant flowers are sweeter smelling than floribunda or sinensis wisterias.r
Blooming in late spring or early summer
Wisteria is best planted between October and April, in fertile and well-drained soil. They usually bloom within three to five years of planting. To flower well, wisterias need to be planted in a location that gets at least six hours of sunlight on a daily basis.
You can help speed up the blooming process by feeding wisteria plants every spring using compost and mulch to help retain moisture and control weeds. Also, feed with sulphate of potash in summer.
Too much fertilizer may result in a bushy plant with no blooms. Fertilizers with too much nitrogen also limit blooming.
Wisteria needs to be pruned twice a year - once in summer and once in winter, to keep the growth and size under control. When pruning wisteria, it does cause new growth, and the flowers will appear on newer growth. June is a good time to start pruning wisteria.
How to prune:
Every two weeks during the summer, for more blooms cut the season’s current shoots back to within three buds from the base.
In late winter, remove at least half of the prior year’s growth, leaving just a few buds per stem.
The reality is that this vining plant can grow rather aggressively with minimal care and little or no subsequent pruning.
Grow Wisteria in a Pot
Wisteria offers so much ornamental value and growing them in pots is also possible. Dwarf Purple Wisteria is perfect for those with less space. Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' is an ultra-compact variety from America that is perfectly suited to growing in a large container. The pot should be at least 3 to 4 times the size of your plant’s root ball, and should have a good drainage.
Checking the container daily during warm weather is important. Wisteria is relatively drought-tolerant, but you should not allow the potting mixture to dry out completely.
"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." – Audrey Hepburn