The Wisteria Vine

You Get Blooms, Fragrance and Style!

One of my favorite spring treats is to see the graceful draping of the purple, blue and white wisteria blooms along fences, arbors, corners of houses and even hanging from other trees.

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Questions I am often asked include:

  • How invasive is the vine?
  • When do the flowers bloom?
  • Why don’t the flowers bloom?
  • Which is the best variety to buy?

Major groups include Japanese, Chinese and American wisteria. Here are a few differences.

Twining growth habit for the woody branches on

  • Japanese wisteria twines counter clockwise.
  • Chinese twines clockwise.
  • Americans do not twine unless there is something to grab hold of then counter clockwise.

Bloom time

  • Asian wisterias bloom earlier in spring and may take up to 10 years to bloom (oh no!)
  • American (frutescent) blooms in late spring /early summer
  • Don’t fertilize your wisteria. They like neglect.

Invasiveness  

  • Asian wisteria is much more invasive. The seedpods after bloom root easily. (Cut the pods off after the blooms are finished to prevent this.)
  • American wisteria grows about 30% less aggressively and is easily trained along walls or fences.

Prune

After the bloom fades in early summer and again in winter.

Fragrance

Asian varieties (sinensis) have a sweet floral fragrance.