In Season: Wisteria

Drenched in fragrance and draped languorously over a fence or pergola, wisteria is a beguiling charmer with the power to hypnotize. If you live in regions such as the American South where it’s taken root and can be found in springtime working its way horizontally across powerlines and vertically up anything that stand still long enough, you know that this is a plant with a will of it’s own. And, it’s long-lived, too. It’s not unusual to see a specimen that’s at least 50 years old. All of that said, wisteria is easily controlled (and flowering is encouraged) by regular pruning.

Here are a few really spectacular varieties from which to choose, each with huge, cascading flower clusters. If you’re not sure which one would work best for your particular conditions, ask in the comment section. Or, better yet, consult with your local garden center (find one close to you right here.)

Pink Japanese Wisteria

What: Masses of fragrant, rose-pink flowers hang in long, dangling racemes that shift gently with every breeze. Zone: 5 – 9

When: Early Spring

Best Feature: It’s all about romantic color.

Texas Purple Japanese Wisteria

What: Spectacular pendulous clusters of sweetly fragrant flowers. Zone: 5 – 9

When: Spring

Best Feature: Blooms at a very early age.

Cooke’s Purple™ Wisteria

What: Hypnotic 18-inch pendants burst with fragrant, pea-like blooms. Zone: 5 – 9

When: Spring

Best Feature: Easily trained into a standard or tree form.

White Japanese Wisteria

What: Huge nodding clusters of very fragrant pure-white flowers. Zone: 5 – 9

When: Spring

Best Feature: Attracts butterflies in droves.

Amethyst Falls American Wisteria

What: Lush with intensely-purple blooms. Zone: 5 – 9

When: Spring

Best Feature: Compact, perfect for small spaces & large containers.

Blue Moon Kentucky Wisteria

What: Sets lavender-blue blooms up to three times in a season. Zone: 4 – 9

When: Late spring

Best Feature: Among the hardiest wisterias.

Aunt Dee Kentucky Wisteria

What: Dripping with fat clusters of lilac-blue flowers. Hardy! Zone: 4 – 9

When: Late spring

Best Feature: More tolerant of wet soils.

Keeping Wisteria Happy: If you have plenty of sun, lots of room, sharp pruners, and a very sturdy support, wisteria is not a difficult plant to grow.

  • Grafted plants (which we offer) are more likely to ensure blooms within the first three years.
  • Provide heavy-duty support such as a sturdy trellis or arbor.
  • Six hours of full, direct sun will yield best bloom.
  • Provide good drainage and a slightly alkaline soil.
  • Protect from strong winds which can damage flower buds.
  • Give it plenty of water when in bloom.
  • Avoid feeding with high-nitrogen fertilizer as this is likely to produce plenty of leaves, but fewer flowers.
  • Wisteria can live a long, healthy life with no pruning at all, happily twining, climbing, and sprawling. To control size, prune in winter, and if desired, again in summer.

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