Friday, April 19, 2013

How to Grow Wisteria



Wisteria prefers a fertile well drained soil.  Though wisteria will grow in part shade, it probably won’t flower..  If your soil is poor add compost, otherwise wisteria will grow in most soils.  Plant in the Spring or Fall. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and two or three times as wide. Space plants 10-15 feet apart. 
Choose a place where it will have plenty of room because they can overwhelm nearby plants as they grow quickly.
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This plant on the West Side of my house is probably about ten years old.
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This plant on my outdoor fireplace is only a couple of years old.  As you can see once it gets going there is no stopping it!


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Pruning is the secret to good flowering. Prune wisteria in late winter. Remove at least half of the prior year's growth, leaving just a few buds per stem. If you want a more formal appearance, prune again during summer after traditional flowering. For more blooms, try cutting back the rampant shoots every two weeks during the summer. I will give this a good whack once it has finished flowering.
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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 aide flowering. You can scratch a couple of cups of bone meal into the soil in the  Spring and then add some rock phosphate in the Fall. Only water in the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per year. 

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Informally grown, such as here on my back fence where it runs rampant, mature plants need little or no subsequent pruning.
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For a formally trained plant,  such as here on my eave, cut side shoots back to 6 inches in summer, then shorten them again in winter to 3 buds.  I have to be honest mine does not always get the love it should and it still thrives.
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Now for the secret to my beautiful wisteria… neglect.  My soil tends to be high in phosphorous so I don’t feritlize them at all.  Once they are established they also get very little water.  We do prune them in the winter, and we also prune them regularly throughout the summer to keep them in bounds.  I also have one growing up the front of my house (below) that gets very little sun and blooms as profusely as the others only later.  It has just begun to open up now as you can see.
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What’s blooming in your garden right now? Have you tried Wisteria?  How has it performed for you?

5 comments:

  1. Your wisteria are fabulous. I had wisteria when I lived in New York and I miss the beauty of them. Here in SW Florida, I don't have the right environment for wisteria, so I'll have to enjoy them vicariously with yours.
    XO, Victoria

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  2. You will get a kick out of this. I live near Washington D.C. About 35 years ago I planted a wisteria beside my house. It is shady and so it never bloomed. We had a plant call in radio show moderated by the head of the National Arboritum, Dr. Mark Cathy. I called him about my non blooming wisteria. He said, "My Aunt Maggie had one of those. She waited 42 years for it to bloom and it did, 2 years after she died, Good Luck". He did not suggest sun, root pruning, or fertilizer, he just hung up. I laughed, and I'm still waiting. I hope I out live "Aunt Maggie".

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  3. Cindy, your wisteria looks very happy! I have three in my garden, one is about twenty years old, pale pink supposedly, still waiting for it to bloom, near the front porch! I can't bear to dig it out! It does look great clinging to the pillar there, just green! The other two are white, growing over an arbour, finally after about 5 years, I had two blooms last Spring, so I am hopeful. I think I just don't have enough sun here....your wisteria are gorgeous, I am green with envy! (Could not resist that! )
    N.xo

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  4. Beautiful wisteria! I grow the variety 'Amethyst Falls' here in Georgia. It is not so aggressive—will not eat your house.
    xo, Lissy

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  5. Love, love Wisteria! And yours are simply stunning, dear Cindy! As well as is your house, very lovely.
    No, I never tried Wisteria at our place. Was told that it would not like our soil which is pure calcaire. But...as Wisteria can grow in very poor but well-drained soil (like our one) - who knows.
    I think what puts me off at the end to try is that it looks rather bare when not in flower....Or?
    However - seeing your wonderful images I start thinking again....
    karin

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