wisteria tree

The best known of the wisteria is of course blue, but personally I prefer the white one. He looks somehow noble. Wisteria looks great, no question about it, but the plants are not without it. They often grow to such an extent that they have to be cut back several times (up to 5 times) a year. In the first few years, wisteria often have a hard time blooming. But the plants grow at a frightening speed. They overgrow their climbing aids, rain gutters, wooden paneling, roof tiles and they crawl into every crack. Then they can only be removed with great effort and force. So, if you want to get a Wisteria, you have to know that this plant may look good, but it is work and can cause real trouble.

Is wisteria poisonous?

This question comes up every now and then. What is certain is that alkaloids were found in all parts of the plant. The bark and roots contain wistarin, a toxic glycoside. The wisteria also contains poisonous protein compounds (lectins). Symptoms of poisoning are vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea and dilated pupils. In children, 2 seeds eaten are enough to cause these symptoms. However, the content of toxic ingredients varies depending on the season and location of the plant.

The wisteria is also poisonous for animals, especially horses, rodents (rabbits, hares, guinea pigs and hamsters) and for birds. The symptoms are similar to those of humans. There have been deaths in rabbits.

Wisteria species

  • Wisteria brachybotrys – silk wisteria – rare, panicles are horizontal and shorter (15 cm), but the individual flowers are larger, flowering in June and autumn.
  • Wisteria floribunda – Japanese wisteria – flowers a little later, flower clusters looser and longer (more than 30 cm), winding to the right.
  • Wisteria x formosa – hybrid breeding (Wisteria floribunda x Wisteria sinensis) – characteristics of both parents, very nice two-colored varieties available
  • Wisteria frutescens L – American wisteria – the smallest-flowered species, rare, flowers late, not until June / July
  • Wisteria sinensis – Chinese wisteria – most common species, flowers early in the year (May) and then again in August, dense, short flower clusters up to 30 cm, twisting to the left.

Particularly beautiful varieties
It is important to watch out for grafted plants!

  • Wisteria floribunda ‘Honbeni’ (synonyms – ‘Rosea’, ‘Akabana’, ‘Honko’, ‘Pink Ice’ – pink, white flowers
  • Wisteria floribunda ‘Violacea Plena (synonyms -‘ Black Dragon ‘,’ Royal Purple ‘,’ Kokuruyu ‘,’ Yae Fiji ‘,’ Yae Kokuruyu ‘- dark purple long panicles, double flowers, fast growing, fragrant, also suitable as a ground cover
  • Wisteria sinensis ‘Alba’ – white panicles, weakly fragrant
  • Wisteria floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’ – particularly large blue-violet flower clusters, strongly scented, needs a very strong climbing aid.

Care of wisteria

Care of wisteria

Wisteria is quite maintenance intensive. The cut, in particular, needs to be done regularly. The plant also needs a climbing frame. It is better not to wind around it, but to be tied to it. The fastenings must be checked regularly to ensure that they do not cut into the trunk or the shoots. There isn’t much else to do, but that’s a lot of work. If you plant the wisteria in the wrong place and if you don’t pay attention to where it grows, it can spread uncontrollably and cause a lot of damage due to its strong growth. Then you have to do the right thing.


In order to bring the wisteria to a rich bloom, a suitable location is important. Under no circumstances should it be planted too close to the rain gutter or near pipes, gutters and the like!

  • Sunny location, if necessary, also shady
  • Significantly fewer flowers appear in partial shade.
  • It is ideal in front of a south wall, then the plant will usually flower earlier and more abundantly.
  • Only for protected locations, because the buds are very sensitive to frost. A night of frost is enough for all the buds to freeze to death.

Plant substrate.

The wisteria does not place as high demands on the plant substrate as it does on the location. The plant gets along with most garden soils, as long as they are neither too wet nor too dry. In short: humus-rich, lime-free, acidic, moist but water-permeable soil

wisteria plant


The most important thing when planting wisteria is the right place for the plant. Otherwise, there is not much to consider. The best thing to do is to provide the wisteria with a corresponding framework on which it can grow high.

  • Plants in spring
  • Dig the planting hole about 60 cm deep.
  • Loosen the soil well and fill it up.
  • After planting, lightly pile up with moist humus soil.
  • Wisteria needs some shade the first time after planting.
  • It can take years for wisteria to bloom for the first time.

wisteria is a fast-growing climbing plant that absolutely needs a scaffold. In any case, this will be gratefully accepted.

  • Stable, rod-like climbing aids, if possible, matched to the height and width of growth!
  • Wire ropes are best.
  • Soft material like wood is easily crushed and is not recommended.

Wisteria must be trained to grow properly and produce lots of flowers. In addition, the plant must be prevented from overgrowing everything or growing along where it shouldn’t.

  • The trunk should be built up strictly parallel and without being looped around.
  • The structure of the branches should be done in such a way that they cannot scratch the facade of the house.
  • Be careful with lightning rods, gutters, downpipes and the like! These must not be recorded.
  • Climbing supports should be 2 meters away from these parts and from the eaves, sideways and upwards.
  • All shoots must be routed along the outside of the climbing aid, not through it.
  • Fastening wires are used, but they must not be tied too tightly, because the growth in thickness is also strong and the wires can otherwise cut.
  • The fastening wires must be checked regularly and loosened if necessary!

Watering and fertilizing

Wisteria tree Watering and fertilizing

When caring for the wisteria, it is important not to let the soil dry out during the growing season. In addition, the plant needs sufficient fertilizer so that it can produce and develop many flowers.

  • Do not let it dry out, especially not in the spring before flowering.
  • When it is dry, the flower buds can fall off.
  • Avoid waterlogging at all costs-
  • Mulch the soil so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly.
  • Fertilize – absolutely free of lime!
  • Avoid excessive nitrogen application, otherwise only leaf growth will be promoted.
  • Fertilizing with superphosphate as early as April is beneficial for flowering.

Wisteria in the planter?

Wisteria thrives in the bucket if it is big enough. Then the plant is not that vigorous.

  • The best time for planting is spring, around mid-May.
  • The supply of nutrients is particularly important when it is kept in a bucket!
  • Winter in a cold house.

Raising wisteria in the bucket as a high trunk
In the trade, wisteria high trunks are offered again and again. These are suitable for anyone who has no way of holding a climbing plant. However, this standard trunk requires a lot of care in the form of pruning measures. You can grow such a trunk yourself, it takes a few years, but it is much cheaper.

  • In the first year immediately after planting, cut the shoot back by a third to a well-developed bud! Remove all side shoots! Attach the drive to a support rod! Shorten all shoots by half in July! Connect the extension of the main shoot.
  • In the second year, all new shoots are cut back to three to five eyes in February. In July, shorten all newly developed branches by a third! Shorten the main shoot to the desired final height! The main and side shoots can now branch.
  • In the third year, again in February, shorten all shoots (main shoot, side and side shoots) to three to five shoots! Cut the trunk free in July! Remove all side branches up to the desired crown height, directly at the base!
  • After about five years, the trunk no longer needs any support. The regular cut is still important!


The pruning in wisteria is a necessity. Firstly, the plant sprawls to such an extent without cutting, but grows unevenly and secondly, damage to the climbing aid and buildings or the like can be avoided in this way. The flowers of the wisteria only form in the buds of the side shoots close to the trunk. Regular pruning is essential to support the formation of these shoots.

You can actually cut wisteria quite simply, like a vine. All side shoots that are not used as the main frame can be shortened to 3 eyes. The best time to do this is in August. After the cut, short shoots form, which bloom particularly profusely. Otherwise, you can cut as needed in summer.

  • It is particularly important to rigorously shorten the long whip shoots. No flowers form on them, but the plant puts a lot of power into it that is lacking elsewhere.
  • In the first two years of standing, shorten the side shoots on the main trunk by a good half.
  • Let the remaining shoots grow until the desired height is reached.
  • From the third year onwards, cut back the shoots upwards to 3 to 5 eyes.
  • The newly grown shoots are radically cut back to two to three buds in winter, on a frost-free and not sunny day!
  • In winter, wisteria is much easier to cut, because without the leaves you have a much better overview of the plant.
  • When cut in this way, many flowers can form.


Winter protection is recommended for the first few years! Otherwise, the wisteria is well hardy. Only the buds can freeze to death in late frost, which is why a protected location is so important. It is best to overwinter buckets in a cold house. The plants can also stand in the dark because they shed their leaves. If necessary, an unheated garage is also possible. The bucket must not dry out completely, so give it a little water every few weeks. From February, put it back lighter and warm again! Fertilize from the start of budding!


Wisteria can be propagated by cuttings, sinkers, grafting and sowing. The safest way is to multiply by subscribers. Growing from seeds usually succeeds and the plants also grow quickly, but they often take many years to flower (around 10). So, you have to be patient.

  • Softwood cuttings from new shoots can be cut in summer. You should have at least 1 bud.
  • For the sinker, direct a long shoot of the plant to the ground. Slightly scratch the bark at the point of occurrence! Dig this area about 15 cm deep. In spring the shoot should have roots and can be separated from the mother plant.
  • File the seeds before planting, water them for 24 hours and then put them in pots with a sandy, humus-rich substrate! Germination temperature between 15 and 18 ° C. Germination time about one to two months.

Diseases and pests

Wisteria Diseases and pests

The wisteria is quite robust and not very susceptible to diseases. Voles love the roots, which usually means the end of the plant. Aphids and spider mites also appear. Occasionally, chlorosis can turn the leaves white.

Wisteria does not bloom.
There are several reasons why wisteria does not bloom.

  • Plants grown from seeds take many years to flower. Therefore, when buying, pay attention to the finishing agency!
  • Wrong cut or too little cut!
  • Too little water in spring
  • Too little fertilizer
  • Wild shoots that have not been removed
  • Too dark location

The wisteria looks great when it blooms. But first you have to get him to do it. That often takes many years. But then it is a feast for the eyes. Wisteria has one drawback. The plant will grow and grow if not contained. It can overgrow anything and also cause damage. It must therefore be directed and cut. Often you have to use scissors several times a year. If you have little space, a high trunk is suitable, which can be kept small, but these plants need a cut even more urgently and more often.

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