Japanese Wisteria – Delicate Cascading Blooms

Japanese Wisteria, also known as Wisteria floribunda, is a tropical climbing vine that can grow up to forty feet (12 m) tall and produces flower cascades that are twelve to eighteen inches (30 – 45 cm) in length.

The stems twine clockwise. It is native to Japan and attracts bees, butterflies, and birds.

Wisteria flowers are pale lavender or white in color, slightly fragrant, and bloom as the foliage expands. The pea-like flowers, which bloom in late May, open gradually from the base of the cluster to the tip. Foliage color is yellow in the fall. 

Wisteria floribunda is best grown with some type of support, such as wires, trellises, arbors and pergolas. Solid, vertical surfaces can be used if proper supports are added, such as rows of sturdy, rust-resistant wire attached four to six inches from the wall.

Wisteria can also be grown as a tree-form by staking the vine in an upright position. Cut off the top when it reaches the desired height (typically four to five feet tall). Allow side shoots to develop on the upper part of the wisteria tree, continually removing shoots from the lower stem.

In winter, prune the side shoots to a length of six inches to one foot - until the top reaches the desired size.

Wisteria Floribunda

Japanese Wisteria Vine - Growing Information and Plant Care Tips

USDA Hardiness ZoneJapanese Wisteria

USDA Zone 7 - 11

Lighting

In order to bloom well, Wisteria Vines require full sun, at least six or more hours of direct sun per day.

Watering

Water newly planted Wisteria daily during the warmer months to aid establishment. Established vines are extremely hardy, and watering schedule can be reduced to twice a week.

Fertilizer

Apply a balanced fertilizer annually in the spring, or a slow-release fertilizer in spring and autumn.

Propagation

Wisteria floribunda can be propagated from seeds, stem cuttings, and layering.

Seeds should be soaked in water for twenty-four hours before it in soil. Be aware that seeds can take ten or more years to bloom.

The best time to take stem cuttings is in late spring to mid-summer. Stem cuttings will take 2 -3 years to bloom.

Layering is done by covering part of a stem that with soil, leaving the tip above the soil line. This method can take up to a year to produce a new plant. The stem can be transplanted when it has developed new roots.

Soil

Japanese Wisteria prefer moist, well-draining soil that does not dry out excessively.

Pruning

Prune Wisteria to maintain vine shape and quality. If not pruned, vine can overtake surrounding plants and structures. Pruning is necessary to train vines and promote flowering.

Cultivars / Varieties

'Wisteria floribunda alba' (White Japanese Wisteria) – Racemes consisting of beautiful white flowers.

'Wisteria floribunda rosea' (Pink Japanese Wisteria) - Long racemes comprised of pinkish- lavender, lightly scented flowers.

'Wisteria floribunda carnea' (Pale Pink Japenese Wisteria) – This cultivar features cascading, pale mauve-pink flowers and abundant foliage in autumn.

'Wisteria floribunda Domino' (also known as Issai) – Flowers are lavender to blue-violet in color and faintly scented.

'Wisteria floribunda Royal Purple' (also known as single Black Dragon) – Features lightly scented, dark purple-violet flowers and abundant fall foliage..

How to Plant Japanese Wisteria

The best time to plant Wisteria is in the fall or spring – before or after summer blooms appear.

  1. Select a location that receives full sun – a minimum of six hours a day. Wisterias grow best in a moist, well-draining soil.
  1. Grow wisteria vines near vertical supports, such as pergolas, arbors and fences. You can also attach rows of wire, wood or tubing to a building, leaving 4 to 6 inches between the wires and the wall. Wire, wood and tubing are the best materials to use because they will not rust. Wood should be pressure treated.
  1. Dig a hole the depth of the root ball, three times as wide. Place the root ball into the hole.
Note: Wisteria vines should be spaced ten feet apart.
  1. Fill the hole halfway with soil. Get rid of air pockets by watering thoroughly. After the soil absorbs the water, finish filling in the hole. Water the soil once more.
  1. The vines need to be trained to grow on the support system. Choose a strong stem to be attached to the support. Attach it with a twist tie or gardening wire. You can also tuck it into the support system. Prune the side shoots because this will promote more vigorous growth. Train the main leader as it grows, weaving the vine around the support system.
  1. Fertilizer Japanese Wisteria annually in the spring. Add a layer of compost to the base of the vine. Cover the base of the plant mulch to control weed growth and retain the soil's moisture.
  1. Prune wisteria after it flowers in early summer. Cut all of the side shoots branching from the main stems back to 6 inches. Trim shoots growing from the vine's base to avoid weakening of the vine.

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