Loose clusters of purple hang like lace from the branches of wisteria. With prudent pruning, a gardener can create beautiful tree forms and attractive arbor specimens.
Wisteria grows well in full sun or partial shade. The soil should be of average fertility, moist and well drained. Too fertile a soil produces lots of vegetative growth but very few flowers. Avoid planting wisteria near a lawn where fertilizer may leach over to your vine.
Wisteria may send up suckers and can root wherever branches touch the ground. To keep wisteria blooming sporadically all summer, prune off flowering spikes as soon as the flowers fade. Wisteria will send out new blooming shoots until frost.
Wisteria requires something to twine around, such as an arbor or other sturdy structure. Select a permanent site; this vine doesn’t like to be moved. It is best not to allow it to grow up large trees, as it can weigh the tree down and cause damage.
W. frutescens (American wisteria) is a twining climber clothed in divided leaves composed of 9–15 leaflets. Pea-like, fragrant flowers are borne in pendulous, lilac clusters. The flowers are followed by smooth, green seedpods, 4" in length. Cultivars are available with lilac blue or white flowers.
W. macrostachya (Texas wisteria, Kentucky wisteria) is a Texas native. It is very similar to American wisteria in appearance, but the flowers produced by this species are twice as long, reaching 12" lengths.
Features: blue, purple, pink or white flowers; foliage; twining habit
Height: 20–30' or more
Spread: 20–30' or more
Hardiness: zones 6–9
All parts of this plant are poisonous.