Wisteria masterclass: best expert content

Wisteria floribunda 'Domino' from Thompson & Morgan

Wisteria flowers are highly scented and look fantastic trailing en masse
Image: Wisteria floribunda ‘Domino’ from Thompson & Morgan

Find everything you need to grow fabulous wisteria here. From troubleshooting flowering issues to keeping these vigorous climbers under control with correct pruning techniques, these independent articles, videos and Instagram posts are packed with useful tips. And if you’re tempted to plant one of these glorious vines in your own garden, take a look at our full range of wisteria shrubs for inspiration. 

Fiona – Cumbria Wisteria

Wisteria flowers against blue sky

Most Wisteria produce lovely lilac coloured racemes
Image: Cumbria Wisteria

Fiona from Cumbria Wisteria knows a thing or two about wisteria, given that she’s responsible for one of three National Plant Collections of wisteria in the UK! Now split between her own private garden and the historic estate of Brantwood, Coniston (where the plants are cared for by Head Gardener Bethan Pettitt and her team), this blog is a fantastic resource for anyone looking for specific information. Fiona’s top tip for growing wisteria is to get your hands on a grafted plant, as those started from seed or cuttings take a long time to flower. Think you’re a patient gardener? Fiona admits that “two of the first wisteria I grew from seed have flowered (one after 11 years and one after 16!)

Sue Sanderson – Thompson & Morgan

Wisteria brachybotrys 'Showa-beni' from Thompson & Morgan

Wisteria brachybotrys ’Showa-beni’ produces short, highly-scented racemes of large flowers
Image: Wisteria brachybotrys ‘Showa-beni’ from Thompson & Morgan

Have you moved into a garden with an established wisteria? It’s likely to either be a W. floribunda or a W. sinensis, says Sue Sanderson at Thompson & Morgan. Take a look at your mature vine to see if its main stem winds around the support in an anticlockwise direction. If so, it’s likely to be W. sinensis. Vines that wind in a clockwise direction are more likely to be W. floribunda. And if that’s not conclusive, the flowers are slightly different too. Read up on the merits of both types in her excellent article: ‘How to Grow Wisteria’.

Andy – The Fully Charged Gardener

Man walking through wisteria tunnel

Keep your wisteria looking its best with expert pruning advice from The Fully Charged Gardener
Image: The Fully Charged Gardener

Prune your wisteriain summer straight after flowering, and you might get a second flush of flowers later in the year, says Andy at The Fully Charged Gardener. Early summer pruning (in May or June) switches the plant’s focus from putting on vegetative growth back to flowering, he explains. His key message – don’t be afraid to prune your wisteria hard; it can take it! Watch his excellent video to learn more, and to see his enviably well-trained wisteria vines!

Gardening with Roger

Man pruning wisteria to encourage growth

Roger prunes his wisteria twice a year
Image: Gardening with Roger

Wisteria can put on around seven feet of new growth in one season, says Roger at his channel Gardening with Roger. It’s important to only prune this fresh growth, he says, pointing out the colour difference in the stems to help you differentiate the older growth from the new. Watch Roger’s fun video to see how he brought a reluctant wisteria back to life with careful pruning. If your wisteria isn’t flowering, this is the one for you.

Carol – The Sunday Gardener

Woman showing where to prune wisteria for removing lateral growth

Keep your wisteria where you want it by removing lateral growth like Carol
Image: The Sunday Gardener

Try to buy a new wisteria in spring, choosing a grafted plant that’s already showing signs of flowering, says Carol Bartlett of The Sunday Gardener. How do you know it’s a grafted plant? “There is a bulge in the stem just above soil level in the plant pot,” she says. See Carol’s fantastic, mature specimen in her excellent video: ‘How to make wisteria flower’. And check out her growing wisteria article for even more top tips.

Classic Garden Elements

120-year-old wisteria is scaling the side of Visco-Coffele Palace, Italy

This 120-year-old wisteria is scaling the side of Visco-Coffele Palace, Italy
Image: Classic Garden Elements

Mature wisteria can become extremely heavy, caution the experts at Classic Garden Elements.You’d be best off with a particularly robust structure – one that’s capable of holding its own against this lilac force of nature,” they say. See examples of some especially stunning and sturdy wisteria supports, including a listed wooden pergola and palace iron railings in their article: ‘Growing supports for wisteria’.

Pete – Real Men Sow

Wisteria brachybotrys 'Kapiteyn Fuji' from Thompson & Morgan

Wisteria brachybotrys ‘Kapiteyn Fuji’ is a slightly more compact type of wisteria
Image: Wisteria brachybotrys ‘Kapiteyn Fuji’ from Thompson & Morgan

Grow your wisteria in a pot if you want to keep it constrained in a small space, says Pete at Real Men Sow. Pot-grown wisterias can also be trained into standards which is a useful space-saving option for small gardens. Pete advises using “the largest container possible and good shrub and tree compost.” For more tips on growing wisteria in containers, read Pete’s full article.

Aberdeen Gardening

Closeup of purple wisteria flowers

Wisteria flowers are very pea-like when viewed close up
Image: shutterstock/Stockt0_0

If you live in the far north and don’t know if a wisteria would survive in your garden, Aberdeen resident and gardening enthusiast Alistair has the answer. “Find a good, sunny, sheltered spot, south or west facing, and once established this very long-lived plant will become your pride and joy.” This blogger got the bug after running into a Wisteria sinensis in full bloom in a friend’s garden in Aberdeen. Disabused of his prejudice, he’s since discovered that these wonderful climbers grow perfectly well in colder climes, provided they get the shelter they need.

Mandy Bradshaw – Thompson & Morgan

Wisteria sinensis (Patio Standard) from Thompson & Morgan

Patio standard wisterias make unique features in the garden
Image: Wisteria sinensis (Patio Standard) from Thompson & Morgan

When you prune a wisteria, take the opportunity to tie in and tidy your vine, says Mandy Bradshaw, writing for Thompson & Morgan. Pruning also allows “more light to get to the wood, encouraging it to ripen and produce flower buds,” says Mandy. She likes to remove the new growth down to six buds in summer and to two buds in winter. Read her article for the full lowdown on summer and winter pruning.


White wisteria in garden

Wisteria is a vigorous vine that adds height to a bed or border
Image: @acreswildgardendesign

Go for a white wisteria as well as a classic lilac-coloured variety, say the expert landscapers over at @acreswildgardendesign. “Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’ flowers later than the more common Wisteria sinensis, allowing you to extend the season and prolong the pleasure,” they explain. See their full post along with the beautiful image of a wisteria-clad pergola taken at Gravetye Manor.

Lee – Garden Ninja

Man up ladder winter pruning wisteria

Lee Burkhill expertly demonstrates the winter prune
Image: Garden Ninja

Wisteria vines live for up to 100 years, says Lee over at Garden Ninja. “In the wild they send out runners and put on lots of foliage to ensure they have the best chances of survival,” he explains, which is why pruning is important to encourage flowering instead of masses of green growth. And if your wisteria has been correctly pruned and still isn’t flowering, it may be that you’re overfeeding – promoting extra foliage at the expense of blooms. Lee’s beginner’s guide to pruning wisteria is packed with practical tips.

John – Pyracantha

Wisteria floribunda 'Lavender Lace' from Thompson & Morgan

Mature wisteria make a show stopping garden feature
Image: Wisteria floribunda ‘Lavender Lace’ from Thompson & Morgan

If your wisteria isn’t flowering, even with regular pruning, John from Pyracantha suggests that there might be too much nitrogen in your soil. If this is the case, your vine will produce lots of leafy green growth instead of focusing on flowering, he explains. Try applying a phosphate fertiliser to counteract the nitrogen. For more troubleshooting tips, read John’s full article.

Anya – @anya_thegarden_fairy

Wisteria stems coming out of pot

Wisteria stems root readily to produce a new plant
Image: @anya_thegarden_fairy

Moving house? You don’t have to leave your beloved wisteria behind, says Instagrammer Anya over at @anya_thegarden_fairy. She says it’s easier than you might think to propagate wisteria from an existing plant: “Simply place a side shoot in a plant pot filled with some compost and leave it to root.” See Anya’s full method over at her post, and then check out her new wisteria plant a year later to see the success. Bear in mind that you’ll have to wait a long time for flowers though!

We hope we’ve inspired you to grow your own wisteria or rejuvenate an existing plant with the correct pruning technique. Share a picture of your wisteria in flower via Instagram or Twitter– we always love to hear from you.

Published at Mon, 25 Apr 2022 05:53:02 -0400

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