Wisteria

The Wisteria is a beautiful springtime blooming vine that can be trained as a tree or shrub. It’s known for its gorgeous clusters of cascading flowers that provide a lovely fragrant Japanese wisteriaatmosphere. Wisteria are truly a feast for the senses once they take off in the landscape. Wisteria vines are very easy growing plants for zones 4-9. With proper pruning they can be formed into a stunning display for your home and reward you with many years of pleasure in your garden or landscape. Wisteria trees can reach a mature height of about 8-10 feet in height and width, while wisteria vines can reach 20-30 feet in height and width (in some cases even longer).

Choosing a location:
The ideal spot for planting wisteria should be a sunny area with fertile, moist, well draining soil. Wisteria thrive in almost any soil type as long as it is well draining and receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Planting directions: Anytime from spring until fall is the ideal time for planting your wisteria.

1) Be sure there are no other plants/trees nearby as they may be overtaken, as wisteria vines are vigorous climbers.

2) Dig a hole that is three times as wide as the root ball and just as deep (if planting more than one, space the plants 10-15 feet apart).

3) Prior to planting your wisteria add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure to your soil to improve drainage and soil fertility.

4) When placing your wisteria in the hole, try to spread the roots out a bit by gently combing them with your fingers.

iStock_000028205716_Medium5) Gently hold the plant while making sure it’s vertical in the hole and back-fill the hole with your other hand, working the soil around the roots to avoid air pockets. Then gently firm the soil down with both hands, but don’t pack the soil too tight as it could harm the root system.

6) Make a rim of soil around the edge of the planting hole. This basin-like ring will catch and hold water channeling it directly down to the root system.

7) Give the wisteria’s planting site a thorough soaking of water and cover with mulch to retain moisture.

*Wisteria trees may require staking while they become established before they can stand on their own in heavy winds. After you plant your wisteria tree, drive your stake 6-12 inches down roughly 1/2 inch away from the trunk. Secure the tree with planter’s tape every 8 inches.

Watering:

During your first year the wisteria will benefit from regular watering while the roots become established. An inch of rainfall per week is recommended which equals out to about 4 gallons of water weekly. Water your wisteria in the morning or evening on hot, summer days to allow the plant to soak up the water before it evaporates. A slow trickling from the hose works best so the soil can absorb water without run off. Once fully established the natural rainfall in your area should be sufficient for your wisteria unless in times of drought, then you will need to water once every two weeks.

Fertilizing:

Your wisteria will require little fertilizing if any at all, excessive fertilizing will inhibit the blooming. If you have poor or sandy soil then consider using a small amount of fertilizer like formula 5-10-10 or 5-10-5. Feed your wisteria about 3/4 cup per square yard each year during the spring.

Pruning:

Wisteria (unlike many plants) needs to be pruned twice a year, typically once in late winter and again in mid-summer. Winter pruning is to prepare the flowering spurs for the upcoming season. Summer pruning keeps the long, whip-like shoots under control encouraging them to become flowering spurs.

Remove poorly placed wisteria tree branches entirely and cut the current seasons growth back to about 5-6 large buds (leave the stubs about 6 inches long). This will help to turn some of the leaf buds into flowering buds. Don’t concern yourself too much if you make a mistake in the pruning your first time around. Wisteria is a forgiving, vigorous grower and the next season will give you another chance.

Your wisteria will bring you many years of joy with its beautiful cascading flowers. It will also challenge your pruning skills since pruning is necessary to encourage new growth and blooms. In some cases people are known to enjoy eating the blooms, as they are fragrant and sweet.

The leaves have been known to make an enjoyable tea when dried and steeped. One of the most common things to use the flowers for is in tossed salads since they look great and add to its delicate flavor. Over all, wisteria in its entire splendor is a wonderful, beautiful addition to your garden or landscape!