Wisteria - Wisteria floribunda


Wisteria, commonly known as wisteria, is native to the Far East and more accurately than China and Japan and belongs to the Papilionaceae family.
It is a genus of 10 species of climbing and rustic shrubs.
The distinctive features of the wisteria are the trunk, which unwinds from the base by twisting and shaping itself to the surfaces and structures placed near the plant, and the blue-violet flowers, gathered in hanging clusters that reach the length of 20 -25 cm, with an intense and pleasant aroma.
The most favorable periods for planting wisteria are autumn and winter, until March, trying to avoid frost.

Grow wisteria

Wisteria is a deciduous climbing plant characterized by fickle woody stems and a beautiful and abundant spring flowering, occasionally followed by a slight repetition in mid-summer. It is therefore considered ideal for covering sunny walls, arches, pergolas or sturdy palisades.
However, it is not very simple to cultivate, especially if we want to obtain excellent results both in growth and in bloom already from the first years: it is very important first of all a good setting, a specific fertilization and then an accurate and precise pruning.
Wisteria is part of the Fabaceae family and is mainly native to the Far East, in particular China and Japan. However, there are some varieties, less common, endemic to the North American continent.
It is an extremely vigorous woody creeper that flowers, forming bunches up to 40 cm long, generally lilac in color. The leaves are formed by indelible, oval and pointed leaves. The fruits are very similar to beans, about 15 cm long.

Planting From February to April, or from August to November
Flowering From April to August
Pruning March, May-June, August-November


The most indicated is of clay type, but the wisteria adapts to live well in any type of soil, the important thing is that it is well drained and rich in organic substance. In this regard, it should be remembered that the location of the wisteria must also take into account the fact that the tenacity and vigor of the trunk with which it develops can cause damage to the structures and surfaces placed near the plant.
For this reason it is better to keep away the adult logs from tiles and gutters and the roots from paved surfaces.
Wisteria is rather tolerant of subsoil. It adapts to many different conditions, from poor to richer soils, with the exception, however, of those containing large amounts of calcium. This, in fact, influences the pH of the soil, making the iron insoluble and therefore not available (causing leaf chlorosis and general weakness). However, it has a marked preference for sandy and slightly acid soils, possibly poor.
Extremely rich soils, especially in nitrogen, are often the cause of very vigorous vegetative growth, but the lack or scarcity of blooms
Cold is generally not a problem as almost all species can easily withstand temperatures even below -15 ° C. If we live in alpine areas, we consult the scheme below.
The best exposure is always full sun, but they grow rather well even in slight shade. If the light is not enough, we run the risk of never seeing them ever bloom.

Watering and wisteria irrigation

They must be moderate, more frequent in the rooting phase of the plant.
Flowering occurs at the beginning of summer and lasts about a month; the flowers are thicker in the younger plants. The possible lack of flowering can be due to an excessive administration of fertilizer, an incorrect pruning and finally to the lack of exposure to light. The Wisteria, in fact, prefers sunny or full sun locations and fears late frosts, which can damage the shoots; ideals are walls and structures facing east.
During the summer and in any case in the event of drought it is good to dedicate oneself to irrigation with constancy. Especially if the soil is sandy, abundant weekly interventions may be necessary.
The fertilizations are extremely important. Let us remember that, as for all fabaceae, it is not absolutely necessary to administer nitrogen, as these plants are able to fix it independently in the ground. Our intervention in this sense may prove to be harmful as we would stimulate the production of leaves at the expense of flowers.
It is instead advisable to administer a good quantity of potassium sulphate, tomato fertilizer or other fertilizer with a high content of K, especially in early spring and summer (for re-flowering varieties).
If necessary we can also administer iron sulfate, to acidify the soil, and, if we were to see traces of leaf chlorosis, of chelated iron both by irrigation and by foliar spraying.


It occurs both by cutting and by grafting. In the first case, from the end of July to the end of August, branches of the year are picked and put into rooting in a mixture of peat and sand at a temperature not lower than 16 ° C, for better rooting it is better spray water on the leaves several times a day.
In the multiplication by grafting, in the month of March it is necessary to take some scions from the plant, and insert them on the root of the Wisteria sinensis, then bury and keep at a temperature of 16-18 ° C.
The wisteria plant can also be propagated by offshoots or by seed.

Training pruning

If we have recently planted a specimen we can decide to set it up in different ways: espalier, fan-shaped, sapling or as a semi-formal wall shrub.
To have abundant blooms it is always preferable to direct as much as possible horizontally so that each individual bud is stimulated by the sap in an equal way and then the active ones are multiplied.

How to set up an espalier

After implantation, the stronger jet should be cut about 80 cm from the ground and tied to a support. All other jets will have to be eliminated at the base
Later, during the first vegetative season, the main jet will be tied vertically and the two stronger lateral jets are chosen, tying them at 45 °. These will also be trimmed, while continuing to remove the new basal branches.
During the first winter the main branch will be cut back 80 cm from the ground. The lateral jets must be placed at 90 ° with respect to the first, tied and reduced by 1/3 of their length.
We continue the following spring by bending two branches produced above the two already set, until all the available height is occupied.

Pruning for maintenance

Many wisteria manage to bloom even if they are totally neglected. However, there is no doubt that with good pruning it is possible to obtain much more satisfying and above all constant results, year after year.
Generally we intervene in late summer and then in winter (as already shown for the initial setting).
In summer all the growth obtained in the current season must be pruned up to 15-30 cm in length. This intervention should stimulate the production of new lateral jets and new flower buds. They differ from those in wood for their characteristic round shape.
In late winter, on the other hand, you will have to intervene by shortening the side branches again, leaving at most two or three buds from where they branch off from the main branch.

Wisteria pruning

For the pruning of the wisteria, it is of fundamental importance to determine the number of flowers that will be on our plants. In the month of July, with a sharp scissors cut the branches of the year to a length of 5 6 buds, in January, we will cut the same branches to a height of 2 -3 buds, the latter will bring the flowering.

Parasites and Diseases

Although it is very resistant, the wisteria is subject to attacks by aphids and red spider mites, and can rarely be affected by thrips that damage the leaves. This plant is also subject to chlorosis, which causes whitening of the leaves.

Wisteria floribunda

Coming from Japan, it can even reach 10 meters in height, with light green leaves, consisting of 13-15 leaflets. The very fragrant flowering and bluish violet color, papilionaceous in shape, which can reach 25-30 cm in length. There are many varieties of this species, almost all of which bloom in May-June, and there are many colors from white, to violet, to red.

When and how to plant a wisteria?

Planting takes place in spring or autumn, away from frost. It is also possible to proceed in the summer, especially if we can water frequently.
We need to dig a hole with a double diameter compared to the earth bread. At the bottom we will create a thick draining layer with sand and a bit of gravel, then covering it with earth. Insert the plant slightly inclined towards the support and cover with a mixture of garden soil. We water abundantly and repeat every two days for the first week. We keep the damp soil for the first year.
During the first winter it is good to mulch abundantly.
Note: it is important to carefully choose a strong and stable support because the wisteria is very vigorous.

Choice of the plant

The choice of species and variety to be included in our green space is extremely important.
For example, the most commonly cultivated wisteria, Wisteria Sinensis, is the most suitable to be carried on walls or in any case to develop horizontally, therefore following a espalier structure. Beautiful in these conditions it is also the rarest wisteria brachybotrys.
If instead we want to have a beautiful cascade of flowers from a pergola, it will be better to move towards the florist wisteria.
If instead our space is rather limited, the ideal solution is to opt for W. frutescens, which is not very vigorous and is characterized by a very slow growth. These peculiarities will allow us to intervene less frequently in order to contain it.
In any case, whatever our choice, let us remember that it is extremely important to always choose a plant that has been grafted. Only in this way will we be guaranteed to see it flourish relatively quickly. Keep in mind that even in the best conditions a wisteria may need even five years before producing the first bunches. The individuals obtained from seed in very many cases will never give this satisfaction to the grower, although all our care is correct.

A selection of the most interesting varieties


Flowering period

Flowering characteristics

Other characteristics of the plant
Wisteria floribunda From April to May Very long floral clusters (20 to 40 cm), but not very dense and only slightly perfumed It is the most widespread variety. It can reach 15 meters in height.
Absolutely not afraid of the cold
Wisteria sinensis 
From April to May
It can flourish in August-September
Fragrant flowers forming clusters between 15 and 30 cm long, very fragrant 
If well exposed it has a good regrowth and manages to flourish quite abundantly in mid-summer.
It is a very vigorous and fast-growing species.
In some years it can reach a total height of 20 meters
It is rather rustic, managing to bear easily up to -15 ° C.
Wisteria brachybotris, syn. Wisteria venusta 
It can flourish again in September
Extremely fragrant and great attraction for bees and butterflies
The bunches are rather small, up to 15 cm long.
It is less vigorous and more sensitive to cold.
Usually it can stand up to - 10 ° C.
The height ranges from 10 to 15 meters
Wisteria floribunda May Small and fragrant flowers, gathered in numerous bunches up to 25 cm long. 
Flowering is very prolonged and lasting.
It blooms very early, already 2 years after planting.
The adult height ranges from 6 to 15 meters.
It can also be grown in a container
Wisteria frutescens From the end of May to the beginning of July Fragrant flowers collected in very compact clusters, up to 20 cm long The adult height ranges from 2 to 4 meters, while the average width is 2.5 m.
Wisteria macrostachya May-July Flowers collected in bunches up to 30 cm long, not perfumed It blooms starting from 2 years from the time of planting.
It reaches an average height of 7 meters
Wisteria brachybotrys May Hanging bunches, 10 to 15 cm long with almost contemporary flowering.
Very fragrant.
Very vigorous, it can reach 6 meters in height and 5 in width in a few years.
Very suitable for pergolas and arches

Numerous cultivars are also available that differ essentially in the color of the inflorescences. Currently, wisteria is found on the market in lilac, pink, blue and white. In this case, the choice depends only on our taste and possibly on the color combinations we want to create.

A resistant creeper

One of the most interesting aspects of the wisteria, as well as clearly its double, splendid flowering, is without doubt the great rusticity with which this plant is endowed. Very many are in fact valid ornamental climbing plants but often we find ourselves in front of fragile plants, which do not resist smog or a somewhat forced position, different from the "ideal" one.
The wisteria instead stands out for its great rusticity and is able to live optimally even in polluted areas, even when it is neglected or the position in which it is located is not the most idyllic.
For this reason it is a very popular plant, which guarantees really good results in the face of few treatments required, which are limited to a couple of prunings a year and to the collection of foliage in the autumn.

Wisteria - Wisteria floribunda: A wisteria to see

If you love traveling and you also love the world of plants, you will surely already know that Japan is one of the best destinations to visit, for those who want to enjoy unique shows. The bonsai, the beautiful cherry blossoms and the mythical Japanese-style gardens, the famous Zen gardens, would already be just three good reasons to visit this nation.
However, there is another great wonder that if you have planned a trip to Japan, you should definitely not miss out, and these are the wisteria blooms. Going into more detail, in the large city of Kitakyushu, one of the greatest wisteria shows on earth is found. In the Kawachi Fuji gardens, in fact, there is a spectacular wisteria tunnel over 80 meters long and covering an area of ​​4620 square meters.
Already from these numbers it is easy to see how it is something majestic and in looking at the photos it is immediately clear that if you are in Japan at this time, a jump to the Kawachi Fuji gardens is an essential step.
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