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Wisteria is a gorgeous, deciduous, woody vine which requires full sun, strong support, regular water, and healthy soil to perform to its full potential. But what potential! Wisteria blossoms fall in grape-like clusters, and are very fragrant- most who have smelled a wisteria in bloom never forget the sweet scent. Wisteria is not the hardiest of vines, but once established, they can last centuries, and are renowned for being incredibly long-lived. If you are considering planting new Wisteria plants, ensure that you baby the vine for its first year, adding nutrients and amending the soil regularly.
You must also place your Wisteria very carefully. They need a sturdy arbor, trellis, or other support system- while they are weak and flimsy when young, they grow very, very heavy as they age. Wisteria can tear at shingles, break a poorly-made trellis, clog gutters, and even stifle smaller trees. However, with appropriate staking, they can be encouraged to grow rather like a tree, strengthening the central leader until it is thick and woody, able to support its many vines. Simply provide the leader and beginning whips with adequate support, trimming the leader back once it reaches the appropriate height.
Are you planting new Wisteria, or trying to encourage young Wisteria to grow? Keey an eye out for skinny, long, green shoots that a Wisteria plant is likely to put out. These will eventually turn into branches which yield leaves, not flowers. Allow these runners to grow thickly, where you are trying to encourage growth, and prune them back elsewhere. If you want a flower-heavy season, ensure you aggressively trim these back throughout the year. There are many names for these little guys- shoots, runners, whips- and they are roughly the circumference of a headphone cord. Pruning your Wisteria plant correctly is always the solution to the age-old 'why isn't it blooming?' question. Wisteria will always develop the most blossoms and blooms at the junction of the previous year's growth.
One established, Wisteriaplants actually need very little fertilizing, and the rule of thumb for these vining plants is that the more foliage or green they produce- the less flowers you'll get! Wisteria experts encourage owners to prune their vines relatively aggressively. Wisteria tends to do best in a neutral or even slightly acidic soil. And even when it's not in bloom, Wisteria plants provide a fantastic, lush bit of greenery for your home, garden, or landscaping. Ensuring whther you have Chinese or Japanese Wisteria may impact how you decide to prune and cultivate your vine.
Wait. What's the Difference between Japanese and Chinese Wisteria Types?
Japanese Wisteria: When it blooms, Japanese varieties of wisteria produce flower clusters which can be as much as double the length of Chinese varieties. They are incredibly, strongly fragrant, and the flowers open in a slow wave, starting from the base of the flower clusters. And, interestingly, the vines on Japanese wisteria always twine clockwise!
Chinese Wisteria: Chinese Wisteria blossoms bloom all at once, unlike the slow-opening Japanese variety, and the scent they produce is much, much more mild- though still very sweet! The vine of Chinese Wisteria also twines only counter-clockwise. Chinese Wisteria is also a bit faster and larger-growing. In fact, a special Chinese wisteria planted in Sierra Madre in 1894 has been named the LARGEST blossoming plant in the world- and it weighs in excess of 250 tons, and covers more than an acre! This California wisteria is well-known as one of the horticultural wonders of the world.