Dispelling some myths about Wisteria

Discussion in 'Vines and Climbers' started by Weekend Gardener, May 14, 2007.

  1. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Coquitlam, BC
    There has been a number of threads on wisteria, mainly discussing various aspects of pruning, container growing and getting it to flower. A properly pruned wisteria in full bloom is simply breath taking. I want to encourage all those who worry that their wisteria will not do well in a container, or who wonder why their wisteria won't bloom, or that it may grow rampantly and over grow the garden to persevere - it can be done.

    To start off with - flowering:
    1. How long does it take to flower? It depends on the variety, the maturity of the plant when you bought it, and whether it is propagated by seeds, cuttings or layering. My W sinensis takes 4-5 years to bloom from cuttings, and 2 years with air layering branches 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter. Those grown from seeds will take 10-15 years (but I haven't tried it).
    2. Why won't it flower? The usual answer is that you have been too kind to it. Pruning is the key to getting a wisteria to flower well. You have to keep on top of pruning off all those errant new vines that keep sprouting out like an octopus's tentacles. Through the summer, I am patrolling the plant about once every 2 to 4 weeks. Be very sparing on the nitrogenous fertilisers - you need to keep it on the lean side. An descriptive adage is "the more foliage it grows, the less flower it shows."
    3. Will it do in a container? Of course, it will. After all, grown as a bonsai, it can be kept in a container for many, many years.

    Here are pictures of two specimens in our yard, just to give all who enquire some visual encouragement.

    This first one is trained as a "tree". The trunk of the young wisteria will not carry the weight of the top growth unless given a stout support that will carry the weight and will last many years - in this case, a two inch stainless steel chain link fence post set in concrete. This one is right in the middle of the flower bed. The nutrient rich soil means I have to do double duty pruning this one and keeping it in shape.


    G2 14May07 030 (Medium).jpg

    This next one is grown as a tree in 24 inch container. Both of these wisteria are almost 12 years old. The container grown specimen was air layered off a 1 1/2 inch branch. The tree specimen grown in the garden was layered off a 1/2 inch branch. Both started flowering in their second year, but profuse spring flowering started in year 3 for the container plant and year 5 for the garden grown specimen. In our USDA Zone 8a, I leave the container outside in a sheltered position, with a foot thick layer of leaves and and mulch for winter protection.


    G2 14May07 036 (Medium).jpg
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2007
  2. Charis

    Charis Member

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    Location:
    Fleetwood Area, BC Canada
    Hi WG,

    I’m glad I run in to your post. I was looking at my Wisteria this morning and was trying to decide what to do with it.

    I bought 2 of these plants last year and planted them on the opposite side of my newly constructed arbour. One of the plants grew nicely wrapping itself around the post and over the arbour (see picture). This year, I have been waiting for it to grow some shoots on last year’s wood but it’s not showing any sign. Are those branches dead? Shall I cut them off and let the plant start over?

    I’m also not sure what kind of wisteria I have. The little tag says Wisteria SP. I’m hoping it will take less than 7 years to bloom.

    After reading your post and looking at your pictures, I’m thinking of digging one of them up and planting it in a half barrel container. Do you think the plant will survive? It hasn’t climbed up yet. It’s just producing new shoots like crazy and it’s all over the place.

    Thanks.
     

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    Last edited: May 19, 2007
  3. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Your certainly don't need two wisterias for that size of arbour. You should be able to get one into a container. As for the shoots, you need to choose up to 3 to go up the arbour, and shorten the rest down to about 3-5 leaf nodes.
     
  4. Charis

    Charis Member

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    Thanks for the advice WG. I'm now in the process of moving one of them. I'm trying to decide if I should dig up the one with a single trunk or the one with multiple trunks.

    Incidentally, when I went to the nursery yesterday to purchase the barrel, there are potted Wisteria Sinensis for sale that already have blooms on them. I was so close to buying it and replace the ones I already have. If I buy one of those, will it continue flowering from this point on or will transplanting result to years of waiting?
     
  5. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    Thank you, thank you and thank you! I just keep turning away from buying a Wisteria when my heart wants to have one because of all the bad things I've heard about them.

    Charis, I love the birdseye view of your pond, can you show us another view of it. I love ponds!

    If Wisteria is anything like a trumpet vine, I didn't get any action until I fertilized it with Rose fertilizer that I use on my clematis where the 'P' of the NPK is the highest.
     
  6. Charis

    Charis Member

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    Hi Karalyn,

    I love ponds too! Here are some pictures of my pond. I had 12 koi and 3 gold fish. Sadly, only 6 koi are left. Three were eaten by a Heron and the rest died of some disease.

    Speaking of Wisteria, I bought a big pot to transplant one of them but I was worried I may kill it so I decided not to move it. The Wisterias are both growing quite well over my arbour. All summe long, I have been prunning all new shoots that are growing towards the wrong direction. I don't think I'm going to see flowers anytime soon but at least it will provide much needed shades and privacy.
     

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  7. Ottawa-Zone5

    Ottawa-Zone5 Active Member

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    I know it is too late for this thread but I thought I should post anyway and ask the question. I live in Ottawa Zone 5a. I have a wisteria that I palnted three years ago but replanted it in more sunny area a year ago. It should be now 4~5 years old. It seems healthy but I still have not seen any flowers in Zone 5. I had bought it in a 3 gallon pot from White Rose Garden and Nursery.
     
  8. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    Charis, nice pond and I love the color of your fence. My deck cantilevers over my koi also.

    I like your glass railing or is it plexis glass? Also, did you make your driftwood basket?
    It looks really good!
    OH, and you fish look great as well!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2007
  9. minxy

    minxy Member

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    Hello Weekend Gardner,
    Re: your wisteria's - I have a green winged bug eating mine, down to the vein of the leaves. He has a little bit of brown on his back. Do you know what he is and what will get rid of him and all his friends?
    Thank You
    Minxy
     
  10. algy1943

    algy1943 Member

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    Location:
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    I first sowed wisteria seeds in 1989, planted 1 in a container and 1 in the ground, the ground sown flowered after 5 years and the pot sown after 10 years, the reason I am replying to your post is that the ground sown grew up our RW pipe to the bedroom window and flowered every year until 2008 when after the buds forming thet started to die off, close inspection out of the bedroom window we found it was covered in small brown caterpillers eating away, tried spraying, killed them off but the total growth died off, this year the new growth from the base is nicely flowering and we are training new growh up the dead branches up the RW Pipe, Now the pot grown flowered beautifly every year until last year 2009, buds died off, no sign of caterpillers, then all the live growth is now just a skeleton, but this year new shoots have sprung up and are in flower, now the question, why do they die off, if anything it is under watered in the large tub as its difficult to get to it, wiil try a upload photos of the pot grown if I can, success with the photo's and they are all the pot grown flower.

    algy1943
     

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