If you've purchased or are perhaps considering purchasing one of the fantastic Blue Chinese Wisteria Tree, or maybe an Amethyst Falls Wisteria, you are no doubt looking into how to care for, train, and maximize these incredible blooms!
Swarms of butterflies, pendulous fragrant blooms and incredible color each spring make Wisteria iconic plants for the early start to the growing seasons. Followed up by their curving twisting trunks, weeping, climbing stems and tropical green foliage!
Nature Hills’ expert team of horticulturists is here to help with this simple guide to best care for your Wisteria and keep these vigorous vines looking their best, and out of trouble!
Wisteria is a Vine but is successfully grown as a single stem tree-form as well!
For best results, your Wisteria should be planted in well-drained, moderately enriched soil, and should receive a minimum of six hours of full sun for the most blooms, the best color, and densest, most compact growth.
They need just enough water to keep the soil moderately moist while they are establishing, but afterward only require water during times of drought. Provide a thick layer of mulch over the root system's surface to insulate the roots and hold in moisture. Don’t allow the mulch to pile up around the stem.
Be sure to have sufficient space for the full canopy to develop, with 15 feet minimum being ideal. Keeping their vine-like tendrils from anything they can grab onto and climb.
Tree-Form Wisteria will need a stake provided for the trunk, just for the first few years until it can support the weight of its own fast-growing canopy and encourage it to grow nice and straight. Developing a sturdy woody stem on its own after a couple of years in the ground.
The Vines require sturdy supports to grow on, either solid wood or metal structures are best because their canopies can become heavy.
Choose a full sun location with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, where the soil isn’t soggy or has poor drainage.
Maybe you want your Wisteria to grow and cover everything in its path. Use it to cover a pergola, or grow over an arbor or other structure and produce shade overhead. Maybe you plant yours along a fence directing it as needed to cover chain link or an eyesore from top to bottom creating a nice screen.
Maybe you want it to grow wildly for the fastest coverage. Perhaps you bought your Wisteria as a nursery-trained tree-form with a single trunk and need help keeping it that way? Or have a new vine you’d like to train by yourself?
Any way you use your Wisteria, you will want to use the carefully explained pruning methods below for best blooms and upkeep!
Now that you have purchased your Wisteria from Nature Hills, you will soon notice that the plants, once established, will grow tremendously fast! They can put on many feet of growth in a single season.
Wisteria requires pruning twice a year - once in late summer to reduce the length of new growth, and once in late winter before it starts to grow. Keep in mind that Wisteria blooms on wood that is at least two years old - so don't be afraid to prune hard!
Bi-yearly pruning is a great method of producing nice short flowering stems that will produce nice amounts of bloom within the crown of your tree form plant. You should use this same pruning method for your Wisteria that you are training on a trellis of wherever you need to keep your Wisteria vine in check.
Late summer pruning to reduce the length of the newest, most vigorous growth heading those spires that are too long. This cut helps shape the tree form and keeps your vine where you want it. This cut helps to set flower buds for both trees and vines.
Remove any shoots that are growing at the base of the plant that you do not want. This and lower shoot pruning will most likely need to be done every year.
Once your Wisteria is dormant, either in late winter or very early spring, prune the branches down to about three to five buds. Reducing the branch length will force all the energy in the spring into creating flowers, and you will enjoy a prolific flowering season!
Remove any long shoots that may have formed after the summer pruning. Since the foliage has dropped and you can better see the structure of the plant easily. Pruning will be easier and any flower buds that formed in the summer will be what produces blooms the following spring.
Make note of this fact and be sure that you do not remove or damage those buds. Otherwise, you may stifle next season's blooms.
Root pruning is optional and it can help further develop the root system of the plant but is not required. If you choose to root prune, make a series of slices into the root mass around the entire plant for best results. Take a sharp shovel and plunge it into the soil straight down. Don't tip it taking it out, but instead go straight in and straight out.
To keep your single stem tree-form Wisteria looking like a tree, it is a good idea to get a thicker more substantial stake to loosely tie the main trunk against until it forms a larger woody stem on its own.
Be sure that the ties you use do not strangle the trunk as it exponentially grows, keeping a close eye on them yearly so they don’t dig into the bark. They will need space to thicken as it develops.
Remove the stake when it can stand on its own, which can be after a few short years. Growers in areas with strong summer storms, or heavy drifting snow may wish to keep that extra support until the plant has a nice thick trunk to support itself.
In later summer, you will have noticed that many large stems have developed, shooting out in all directions on your Wisteria tree. Prune back these shoots reducing the length of about 1-2 feet of new growth and keeping the main trunk free from sprouts.
What you are doing is shaping up the head or canopy of your tree, leaving just enough new growth intact so that it will flower on the stem portion that you leave on the tree next spring.
A second pruning is suggested in late winter or very early spring before any new growth begins. Look back at that same shoot that you pruned last summer and shorten it up, this time leaving 2-3 buds (a bit less than a foot of last year’s growth) from which it will grow this coming spring.
Here is a fantastic Wisteria website, with really simple explanations and a video showing the two pruning methods described above from the Royal Horticultural Society! Showing the correct procedure: RHS video - pruning wisteria in summer and winter / RHS Gardening
Nitrogen fertilizer is not needed! Wisterias are in the Legume family, and can produce their very own nitrogen as it develops!
In fact, adding nitrogen fertilizer can decrease flowering, as it helps the plant produce leaves, not flowers. Gear any fertilizer used towards higher levels of Phosphorus or Phosphate to promote flowers and Potassium or Potash to help develop healthy root systems. Don’t forget to add some Nature Hills Root Booster to the planting site for healthy roots as well!
Avoid getting turf-grass and other high nitrogen fertilizers near your Wisteria and keep the root systems well mulched for insulation and moisture retention.
If your Wisteria is not blooming, it is most likely an environmental or age issue. They can be a bit fussy and if their conditions aren’t right, and refuse to bloom.
Check to see that your plant is getting at least six hours of direct light a day - the absolute bare minimum Wisteria requires for blooming. If it is not, see if you can increase the time by pruning back other plants that may be shading your vine.
If a late frost comes before blooming, the buds may be damaged and will not flower. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to correct this issue except wait for the next season. If you know a late spring frost is coming, you can cover smaller plants with sheets to help protect them.
Don't use high nitrogen fertilizers (like lawn fertilizer), which causes a lot of green leafy growth, but use a balanced all-purpose fertilizer instead.
If your plant is still young, it may not be mature enough to flower! If after two to three years of being planted in the ground and it still is not blooming, check to make sure the environmental conditions above are correct and make any corrections necessary.
With gorgeous blooms, fantastic foliage and versatility in the landscape, Wisteria vines impart a fanciful and old-world feel to any garden! Hurry and order yours today to have that classic fragrance and timeless beauty delivered directly to your landscape!
As always, never hesitate to reach out to Nature Hills and our expert team for any questions or concerns regarding these gorgeous, fast-growing flowering vines!
Order without worry knowing Nature Hills uses Plant Sentry™ to ensure your local flora and fauna are safe from potentially invasive species. Get ready to enjoy your Wisteria with a little help from NatureHills.com!