Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Wisteria Hysteria

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Wisteria

Hello fellow readers,

Wisteria Damage

I visited Kathleen and Andrew in Summit and witnessed first-hand the strength of their dilemma literally devastating their deck. It wasn’t in bloom as yet and they admitted blooms have been few and far between. The wrist-thick woody vine climbing from the ground to their second story deck was strong and impressive. Indeed wisteria needs something beefy to climb onto as it can be destructive.

Wisteria is a genus of about ten species. Eight are Asian and include Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria senensis). The barely fragrant American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is recommended as an alternative to the Asian species which are on the USDA list of invasive plants.

You’ve likely seen wisteria climbing in trees and when in bloom in May it’s a spectacular show. But it also can strangle even a large tree. Rather, it’s best to stand alone. A Wisteria tree is typically made by grafting a wisteria vine on top of a standard tree trunk.

Stand-alone Wisteria

Stand-alone Wisteria

Wisterias flower best where they receive at least 6 hours of full sun per day. They thrive in most types of soil as long as it’s well-drained in zones 5 to 9.

The first year after planting, they need at least one inch of water per week to speed establishment. Once established, water sparingly. They require little if any fertilizing. In fact, a reason for failure to bloom can be excessive fertilizer particularly nitrogen. Wisteria can also be reluctant to bloom because it has not reached maturity. It can take six or more years for a newly established plant to start flowering.

Pruning is the other secret to good flowering. In late winter remove at least half of the prior year’s growth, leaving just a few buds per stem. If you want a more formal appearance, prune again during summer after flowering. They say for even more blooms, cut back the rampant shoots every two weeks during the summer.

Not to worry if you give your wisteria a bad haircut as they are very forgiving. And next seasons rambling growth will give you a second chance.

Garden Dilemmas? askmarystone@gmail.com

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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