Growing and Training Wisteria

Big and beautiful, wisteria is the queen of climbers. Here, get tips for developing a beautiful plant and controlling its vigor.

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Wisteria's Beautiful BloomsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited Wisterias should be pruned twice a year to encourage them to flower well.

Some would consider growing wisteria for its gnarled, twining growth and graceful, green foliage alone, but then in spring it tops all this by producing a truly breathtaking display of long, pendant, scented flowers. All it needs is a little annual care.

When to Prune: Winter and summer
Time to Complete: 3 hours

Materials Needed:

  • clippers
  • ladder
  • organic matter
  • twine

Choosing Plants

Wisteria is notorious for being slow to flower, but this is only if it's grown on its own roots. Whereas plants grown from seed may take over 10 years to start flowering, grafted ones can bloom within three or four years. The nursery or garden center should be able to reassure you about this, and you can see the graft yourself at the base of the stem, but the best way to be sure is to buy a plant in flower. The open flowers also give you the chance to decide which color you prefer.

Planting and Support

Wisterias are big, heavy climbers, so plant them only where you have a large, sturdy support in place such as heavy-duty wires or a pergola. Prepare the soil well before planting, digging it over and mixing in plenty of organic matter. At first you may need to tie the stems loosely to their supports, but this task won't be necessary for long because they begin to twine.

Wisteria Climbers with SupportEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Summer Pruning

The best time to assess the overall shape of your plant is after flowering. If there are any gaps, fill these by training new stems along the support in that direction. Tie this new growth in loosely to the framework using twine.

Prepare for Summer PruningEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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