It isn’t difficult to see why wisteria is such a beloved plant. This high-climbing vine has large, droopy clusters of lilac and lavender-colored flowers that grow on a pergola or trellis perfectly.
But Wisteria isn’t just gorgeous. It also yields some of the most aromatic blooms around. If you are a gardener who enjoys sweet-smelling flowers, then your garden will consider growing wisteria vine. It will fill your yard with a sweet, fresh scent that you will enjoy season after season.
Luckily, wisteria isn’t very difficult to grow and it spreads out rather quickly. It will need moist soil, full sun, regular pruning, and plenty of support so that it can grow upwards and outwards.
Chinese wisteria aka Wisteria Sinensis is a rather aggressive and invasive variety, while American wisteria (which grows well in zones 5-9) is slower-growing and can be tamed more easily.
If you think you’re ready to grow your own wisteria, let’s delve into when, where, and how to plant and care for this striking vine!
How to Plant Wisteria
Since wisteria spreads out quickly, it’s best to plant this vine away from the structure of your house, as you don’t want it to cause any foundation problems. Consider picking out a beautiful pergola that it can grow and wrap around for support. It’ll add a decorative, peaceful quality to your front or backyard.
If you feel your curb-appeal could use some improvement, wisteria can definitely help!
Wisteria branches can be rather heavy in weight, so you’ll need to provide it with as strong a structure as you can. Otherwise, the branches will break off from the weight and weaken your plant.
Wisteria transplants well, so you can purchase a potted wisteria from your local nursery or garden center; this will be the quickest way to grow this type of vine. Ask your local nursery for growing tips in your zone as they might have a few insider tricks to get your plants blooming optimally in your climate.
Before you starting planting, make sure to pick out a spot in your yard that gets full sun, which means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you plant your wisteria in an area that gets partial shade throughout the day, the vine will likely fail to produce the generous blooms they’re famous for.
You’ll need moist, nutritious, and well-drained soil for your vineyard. Make sure to NOT plant it near a puddle-prone area during watering or rainy weather.
Once you choose the ideal spot, dig a large hole a few inches deeper than the length of the pot so that the roots have space to stretch and grow. Plant each pot at least 10 feet apart. Remember: this plant is far-reaching and can quickly overtake an area. Water the plant generously to allow the roots to settle into their new home.
Since wisteria thrives in moist soil, you can add a layer of compost and mulch, which will provide the soil with nutrients and also keep it cool and moist on hot days.
TIP: If you want your wisteria to grow like a tree, then you’ll need a good sturdy stick and some wire. Place the wooden stick deep into the ground where you planted the vine, and tie the stem of the plant to the stick, using wire or garden clips. As the plant grows, make sure to keep tieing the main stem to the stick until it starts to grow like a tree.
If you want your wisteria to grow as a vine, plant your wisteria pot underneath a pergola, and tie the vine around it using wire and/or garden clips. This will train the vine to grow upwards and within the pergola.
After you plant your wisteria, water the soil generously to help the roots establish themselves in their new home. After that, you don’t have to water too regularly. If you see that the soil has gone dry, go ahead and water. Wisteria is a hardy vine, so it won’t die if you forget to supply the soil with moisture- this is what makes this plant fairly low-maintenance.
However, at mid-summer and early fall, you will still want to check your soil regularly as the temperatures rise. During this time, Wisteria begins to form buds of next year, so it will take more water than usual.
Similar to other vines and plants like the lilac bush and the peony, wisteria benefits tremendously from pruning and deadheading.
Pruning is very important for the promotion of beautiful blooms because it’s flower clusters will only grow on new, healthy wood. Pruning in late Winter (February) and mid-Summer will keep your vine in good shape and help it produce those dropping blooms you’re looking for.
Pruning during late-Winter helps to encourage beautiful blooms for Spring while pruning in mid-Summer helps to inhibit the branches from becoming invasive and can also encourage flowering.
Make sure to deadhead old blooms and prune back old wood, stopping once you see new wood and healthy buds.
TIP: Pruning, especially in the first few years, gives you the opportunity to “train” your wisteria on where and how it should grow. This is is your chance to inhibit it to one area!
Once you get all of these growing tips down, you can count on enjoying your wisteria vine for years and years to come. It is, after all, a perennial!