Tag Archives: Climbers

The Wonders of Wisteria

Varieties and maintenance.

June brings the sight of one of the most beautiful and dramatic of climbers, the Wisteria. The side of a building or a large tree dripping in the long racemes of light mauve flowers is a glorious opener to the summer flowering season. This is a mighty plant in many respects not only dose it put on a brilliant vibrant show it has a formidable growing habit. This climber is no shrinking violet even if it has lightly perfumed show stopper flowers. This climber comes from the foothills of mountains in Japan and China and in it’s native habitat scrambles up trees on the edge of forest margins to reach the light. So a 6ft garden fence or some dominative ornamental arch you have brought from the garden centre will not be a good home for this mighty beast.

Varieties: Wisteria sinensis, from China and perhaps the most planted Wisteria in Britain vigorous growth habit reaching 18 to 30m in height, with racemes up to 30cm long, flowering May-June. Two good varieties are W.sinensis ‘Black Dragon’ with dark purple flowers.

Wisteria sinenensis 'Black Dragon'

Wisteria sinsensis ‘Black Dragon’

W.sinensis ‘Plena’ with delicate double flowers of soft lilac.

Wistia sinensis 'Plena'

Wistia sinensis ‘Plena’

Wisteria floribunda, from Japan, flowers with the leaves in May-June. A less vigorous plant reaching heights of 4m.

W.floribunda ‘Alba’, normally flowers earlier than it’s purple counter part, trusses of white flowers with a mauve tinge 45 to 60cm in length.

Wisteria floribunda 'Alba'

Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’

W. floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’, this is the ‘big daddy’ of the wisteria world and if you have the room to really show off it’s 1m long flower trusses to the for in the form of a very large pergola with a sturdy lattice work for this big beast to scramble over. So the 1m long flowers can hang in a dramatic purple curtain down through the frame work, for you to walk under and enjoy. Then this surely is the Wisteria for you. That or the side of a very large building indeed.

Wisteria floribunda 'Macrobotrys'

Wisteria floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’

Wisteria care: Now there is a lot said about pruning of wisterias and a lot of mystic surrounds it to. So I am going to try to give some good basics to get you started in the right direction.

A new wisteria: training it on a wired wall.

A) Pruning on planting

1) Cut back the leader to a strong bud approx. 75-90cm above ground level,taking care not to cut below the graft union on grafted cultivators.

2) Remove any existing laterals to stimulate a strong leading shoot.

B) 1st year summer

1) tie in the leading shoot vertically.

2) Select 2 strong laterals and tie them in at 45. angles. Prune any side shoots to about 15cm or to 3 or 4 buds, to begin the formation of flowering spurs.

30 Surplus laterals can be removed.

C) 2nd Year winter

1) Cut back the leading shoot to about 75cm above topmost of the laterals.

2) Lower the pair of laterals and tie into the lowest horizontal wires. Prune them back by approx. 1/3 of their length, to strong ripe growth.

D) 2nd Year summer

1) Continue to tie in the leading shoot.

2) Select the next pair of strong laterals and tie them in at 45. angle.

3) Remove unwanted growth at the base or form the main stem, cutting out completely to it’s point of origin.

4) Tie in the new leading shoot of each lateral, and spur-prune any side shoots back to about 15cm or 3 to 4 buds.

E) 3rd Year winter

1) Cut back the leading shoot to about 75cm above the highest laterals.

2)Lower the topmost laterals and tie in to the nearest horizontal wire.

3) Prune all laterals back by 1/3 to strong growth.

F) Pruning an established Wisteria summer.

1) Continue to tie in the main lateral growths and cut them back when allotted space has been covered.

2) About 2 months after flowering (August), cut back laterals and side shoots to with in 5 to 6 buds,or 15cm of a main branch.

G) Pruning an Established Wisteria winter.

1) Once plant is well established then the planting can and ties can be removed.

2) Cut back the laterals and side shoots pruned in the summer to with in 2 or 3 buds of their base. These will bear the coming seasons flowers.

3) Remove wispy late summer growth made after the summer prune.

4) There should now be several tiers of laterals tied in horizontally.

Wonderous Wisteria!

Wonderous Wisteria!

PLEASE NOTE: these are general guide lines only.

A wisteria in full flower really is a wonder to behold if all this pruning is sounding like hard work and a bit time consuming and complicated and you have a large well established Wisteria that needs some serious TLC and need someone to give you a hand then I know a woman who can. Give me a ring tel:01273 470753. So I can come and help.