Eight Steps For Success With Growing A Wisteria Tree
A Wisteria tree is
not a "real" tree in the sense that you will find
them growing wild in some forest. They are grafted plants. A
Chinese Wisteria vine is grafted on top of a standard tree trunk and
root system. The standard trunk is as tall as the plant will
ever get and the vine part hangs down and gives incredibly fragrant
flowers in early summer. The flowers are spectacular and look
interesting in a mixed border of taller perennials.
Care of Tree - Prune Vine
Having said that, you
do have to 1) take care of this Wisteria tree and give it what it wants
as a tree and 2) you have to prune the vine portion yearly to ensure it
continues to flower.
This plant will grow best in
an area that receives six full hours of sunshine a day.
that Wisteria vines themselves prefer to be out of the very hot mid-day
sunshine. Give the wisteria tree lots of morning sun and late afternoon
sun but do try to keep it out of the hot mid-day sun if possible.
is particularly true in warmer gardening areas where we see these
plants sold commonly in garden centers.
are not as common in northerly areas because the wisteria tree is not
reliably hardy anywhere north of zone 7.
If you get your wisteria tree
bareroot from a mailorder nursery, the very first thing you want to do
after unpacking is to plunge it into a pail of warm water and let it
soak for a few hours. This should rehydrate the roots.
it is soaking, dig a planting hole wide enough to spread the roots
without turning them or forcing them into un-natural
The hole should be deep
enough so that the crown of the wisteria tree (the crown is where the
stem meets the roots) is planted one inch below the surface of the
garden soil. When you install the plant note that the roots
of the standard are often quite brittle and if you break them,
you're setting your expensive wisteria tree back.
Work soil back into the hole, watering
it as you go to ensure there are no pockets of air space there and to
create a muddy root hole. Do make sure the crown doesn't sink
in this process (it tends to do this unless you hold it up with one
hand and backfill and water with the other)
the roots are backfilled, I recommend firming the soil by pressing down
as hard as you can around the trunk. Some gardeners make a
small dike around the plant to hold in the water but I have never gone
to this extreme. The last step is to soak the entire area
thoroughly again. You want to muddify this plant into the garden.
plant is a bit of a wuss in that it does want to be staked. Those big
flower heads can really push the trunk around, particularly if you live
in a windy area.
Drive a good stake
about twelve inches into the ground right next to the trunk (about an
inch or so away from it) and then tie the trunk to the stake with some
I think old pantyhose make the
best tree tying material known to man.
use small string or wire as it tends to cut into the bark.
growing this tree usually increase the size of the stake (in thickness
and strength) as the trunk expands (remember it won't get any
taller) in width. The tree will always need staking. Up here
in the north, we simply buy new trees as we kill them over the winter.
This is somewhat more expensive than buying new stakes but much cheaper
than moving South.
to Establish Successfully
with establishing any new shrub or tree is to water it several times a
week for the first few months. At least one to two inches of
water is needed by this plant every week for the first few months and
then one inch a week thereafter. Mind you, you only have to
water it if you want it to grow.
people write and ask why their wisteria isn't blooming
because they are feeing it well and fertilizing the devil out of
it. That's exactly why. Wisteria do not as a rule
like to be well fertilized. A shovel of compost in the early spring
before the plant really starts to bud out is all the food it requires
for the entire season.
it comes to Overwintering this plant, I'd recommend you ship
it to California or take it there yourself for a winter holiday.
Failing that, you have to protect both the trunk and the vine parts
from wind, cold and ice that will play havoc with the
branches. Good luck. The colder you are, the more you have to
protect it. Or, grow it in a clay pot and put it in a cold cellar for
now we come to the last and least understood part of getting this plant
Folks, it is all about pruning
wisteria. The trick with the wisteria tree and indeed vine wisteria is
to prune them hard. In the case of the wisteria tree, you want to
maintain the globe shape and not allow the branches to get too long.
So, during the summer months when the vines start to really stretch out
- prune them off to where you like the look of the leafy
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And in the fall, just around
your frost date or winter onset when the leaves will fall, prune the
plant back to five to six shoots per main branch. In other words, the
first five or six shoots off each branch are left and the rest of the
long branch is removed.
These in turn are cut
back to about six inches long leaving five or six buds on each of these
branches. You wind up with a short stubby (rather ugly
looking) wisteria tree. Much like the open framework of an umbrella.
the nice part of growing a wisteria tree is that if you don't
kill it over the winter, it will grow like stink next year so any
mistakes you made this year will disappear.
do I grow wisteria tree from seed?
I have the
fresh seed now.
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