Wisteria in shade?

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by erin_juniper, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. erin_juniper

    erin_juniper Active Member

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    I'd like to plant Wisteria at the base of a tree and have it grow up into the branches.
    However, this tree is in shade most of the time. Will this work?
    Also, do I need to worry about Wisteria spreading underground and becoming a problem for my condo neighbors?
    If not Wisteria is there another climber that may like the shade better?
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It should be OK with the shade while it is young. Don't expect any flowers till it reaches the top of the tree, though.

    It may well send out trailing shoots just above the ground looking for other trees to climb; just prune these off as they appear. It won't spread underground.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have one that has clambered off the front fence where it used to be sunny and give a glorious show and is now way up a gumtree where none can really see it's show. It may also get too heavy for your tree if you let too many runners up the canopy. Why do you want to let it up a tree?

    Liz
     
  4. erin_juniper

    erin_juniper Active Member

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    If I keep it to one main stem and wind the trailers around the thicker branches will it still be too heavy you think? The tree is at least 9 yrs old and about 10 ft tall.

    I want to grow it up the tree because it is a small condo patio and I am planning to do a trellis with clematis and thought that two might look cluttered, so perhaps The tree could be like a trellis.

    I saw once a huge old tree with wisteria covering it and thought is was the coolest thing.
     
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No one probably won't hurt it but they do tend to get a bit of a stranglehold on the branch. I have a wisteria and a banksia rose that tumble down from my upstairs balcony and look great together. Maybe you could train yr. two around your trellis with out the tree needing to take part. :) I bet the one you saw was an accident like my gumtree. It just took off and the owner did not have the heart to take it down. Mine is definatley coming down and back onto the fence. I need to do some major tree and shrub pruning out the front. Its like a jungle where I need a machete to get frm. point A-B

    Liz
     
  6. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Erin,

    I'm going to take the opposite position and recommend that you don't plant wisteria on this small tree. There are three species of wisteria with only one being native to North America. Wisteria floribunda - Japanese wisteria and Wisteria chinensis are invasive vines from Japan and China and do alot of damage in the environment. Wisteria frutescens - American wisteria is native to the eastern US. Take a look here at invasive vines about halfway down the page.
    http://www.bbg.org/gar2/topics/plants/handbooks/nativealternatives/nativealternatives_weblist.html

    Scroll down here to the 2nd paragraph about how the seeds are poisonious to children and how invasive it is.
    http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek030415.html

    I also see some other potential problems. You mention you live in a condo. I'm wondering if you are going to be there 30 years from now to maintain this vine. It's going to get VERY large and heavy and the roots will send up sprouts quite a distance from the parent.

    You can see in this picture where the wisteria was pulled off the tree and carved into the bark. It has resprouted and will eventually strangle the tree.
    http://www.science.siu.edu/plant-biology/Marberry/images/WISTERIA.jpg

    Another interesting pic.
    http://www2.nature.nps.gov/YearInReview/yir2000/pages/01_confluence/01_001_confluence.html

    Since your tree is small, how about growing a clematis up it? I've done that and it looks lovely. There are also climbing hydrangeas that won't strangle a tree and aren't invasive. There's even a native - Decumaria barbara. Here's some info on climbing hydrangeas.
    http://home.mindspring.com/~adjservices/html/articles/c_hydrangeas.htm
    http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&q=climbing+hydrangea&btnG=Search+Images

    The wisteria and hydrangeas will get quite large and should be planted on large trees.

    Newt
     
  7. erin_juniper

    erin_juniper Active Member

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    Thanks,
    I appreciate your info. I was worried it might spread too much or hurt the tree.
    In light of this new info. I will look at choosing a clematis instead. I was looking at some and there are so many varieties to choose from too.

    Do you think it would be ok to put clematis in the ground or would it be better to put it in a pot? If so, about what size do you recommend (we plan to be there about 8yrs.)

    Thanks, Erin
     
  8. erin_juniper

    erin_juniper Active Member

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    Also, which clematis would do well in shade. All but the top of the tree is shaded.
     
  9. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Erin, you are so very welcome! I'm glad you have reconsidered. I would recommend you plant the clematis in the ground. Since the tree is small now you could plant it towards the outer edge of the dripline so it will have time to establish before too much competition from the roots of the tree. Plant the rootball on the shady side of the tree and extend the stems of the clematis to grow on the sunnier side of the tree. Select a clematis that grows to about 12' so it won't overwhelm the tree. The ones with the smaller flowers tend to be more vigorous.

    Do you know what type of tree you have? When selecting a clematis consider the color of the blooms of the tree, if there are any, the time of the bloom of the tree (if it blooms) and the colors of the building. Some clematis don't require pruning and it would probably be a good idea to select one of those so others won't have to maintain the pruning once you are gone. This site has some great info on selecting clematis for growing in trees and shrubs. It's from the UK, but most of their hardiness zones are the same as yours probably is - zone 8.
    http://www.howellsonclematis.co.uk/Pages/Gnews20.html

    Here's more helpful articles by Howell. This first one explains the different classifications in easy to understand language.
    http://www.howellsonclematis.co.uk/Pages/Article10.html
    http://www.howellsonclematis.co.uk/Pages/Articles GN.html

    These sites are a good reference for searching for info on different ones.
    http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/
    http://www.saska.demon.co.uk/index2.html

    Newt
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I agree with Newt re the wisteria they can be come very ferral if not maintained. But I do have reservations re the Clematis and tree as well. I was looking at the one on the lynch gate of the little wedding chapel down the road. Also recently we had a glorious picture on the forum here some where of a clematis that was a stair way to heaven. I just wonder if it too would not become a burden to such a small tree. The one I am speaking about is a white one and I have also seen other colours become really heavy and matted. This of course could be the climate here as we don't really get much of a winter any more and it may be the varieties. May be you need to check just how run away it could become before purchase.
    Liz
     
  11. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Liz, you probably saw the Sweet Autumn clematis - Clematis maximowicziana aka C. terniflora which gets quite large. It can be pruned back heavily, but if you miss the pruning a year or two, watch out! LOL It blooms in late summer to early fall. Is this what you saw?
    http://www2.bc.edu/~frazierd/Garden/Clematis paniculata.jpg

    Newt
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2007
  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No but similar. It was on the list about a week ago and way up a tree. The one down at the wedding chapel (in Australia) is probably one of our natives but it has really created a canopy. It grows under 100 year old oaks that have had their lower branches removes. the soil is deep volcanic here and I would say this particular one is growing in optimum conditions. Probably this variety
    http://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp9/clematis-aristata.html

    Liz
     
  13. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    They sure do look like the same plant. I just realized that I never put in the botanical name to my previous post so I added it. I also just realized that you are in Australia and are in your autumn now. It says that yours blooms in spring while the one I mentioned blooms in fall here in the northern hemisphere.

    Newt
     

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