In the Weeds: Wisteria Vine

This poetic climbing vine adds a touch of romance to any garden.
By: Ben Ford
Wisteria vine is a lovely climber, perfect for draping on a pergola or fence.

Wisteria vine is a lovely climber, perfect for draping on a pergola or fence.

Wisteria vine is a lovely climber, perfect for draping on a pergola or fence.

Wisteria is a climbing vine, with species native to both the U.S. and Asia. Wisteria is prized for its lovely flowering performance. As the climbing branches elongate, the vine gets heavy and creates a romantic, weeping effect. 


Wisteria plants can be purchased or seeds can be planted. However, remember that from seed, wisteria will take more than seven years before the first flowering. Many times, the seed-grown plants never flower at all. Something to think about if you want anything close to immediate gratification from your wisteria. Usually plants are grown with cuttings taken from a flowering plant. It is best to purchase the plant from a reliable nursery or while in bloom. 

Wisteria frutescens or American Wisteria

American wisteria is much slower growing, and will require minimal pruning, compared to Chinese wisteria. Wisteria performs best when pruned in spring after blooming. Wisteria sinensis or Chinese wisteria is a rapid growing deciduous climber hardy to zone 5. Chinese wisteria is an aggressive plant that can potentially take over an area of the garden. So consider yourself warned: Chinese wisteria can be maintained, but will require at least a monthly pruning to control the growth.

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