Chinese Wisteria, also known as Wisteria sinensis, is a tropical climbing vine that can grow up to thirty feet (9 m) tall and produces flower clusters that measure six inches to one foot in length.
The stems twine counter-clockwise. It is native to China and attracts bees, butterflies, and birds.
Wisteria flowers are violet-blue in color, slightly fragrant, and open all at once before the foliage has expanded. The fruit is a long, green flattened pod.
The vine climbs by means of twining stems and has alternate, pinnately compound leaves that are smooth-textured. The flowers put on the most breathtaking display from early to mid-May.
Wisteria sinensis 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.
USDA Hardiness Zone
USDA Zone 7 - 11
In order to bloom well, Wisteria Vines require full sun, at least six or more hours of direct sun per day.
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.
Apply a balanced fertilizer annually in the spring, or a slow-release fertilizer in spring and autumn.
Wisteria sinensis 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.
Chinese Wisteria prefer moist, well-draining soil that does not dry out excessively.
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 sinensis alba' – This white flowering wisteria is faintly scented and has good autumn foliage color.
'Wisteria sinensis Jako' – Features flowers that are white to off white in color. Scent is stronger that Wisteria sinensis alba.
The best time to plant Wisteria is in the fall or spring – before or after summer blooms appear.