The wonders of Wisteria

The wonders of Wisteria

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
08 Nov 2017
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One of the most elegant and yet one of the most vigorous plants is the Wisteria.  At the moment they’re in full flower or close to finishing.  As I stand near the cascade of mauve flowers on the Wisteria growing in the grounds of Wodonga TAFE I can smell their perfume and hear the buzz of bees – perfect.

The Wisterias are an extremely vigorous genus of plants, definitely not a set and forget type of plant – forget the Wisteria and it will take a big effort to get it back under your control.  They can be trained, prune them into any shape and style you like.  The main thing really is to grow them in a position tall enough so that the long cascades of flowers can hang freely and in a prominent location.  Even if you have limited space they can be trained into a standard and kept in a large pot. 

There are a number of different Wisterias to select from.  The most common in Australia is the Chinese Wisteria – Wisteria sinensis.  This one is normally mauve but there is a reddish/purple variety and a white variety available.   Japanese Wisterias come in different varieties as well – my favourite with extremely long flower clusters is the Wisteria floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’This plant produces pale purple flowers in clusters that can be up to a metre long – this plant would need a very tall position to show off its best feature.

Wisteria is easy to grow.  It likes a bit of cold weather during the winter to initiate flowers and isn’t over fussy about soil type.  After planting a young plant it’s important to keep it well-watered until it’s established.  Fertilise at least twice a year during the growing season until it’s a good size and then only fertilise if it’s needed.  It’s important to know that overfeeding may cause the plant to grow more leaves than flowers and that is exactly what you don’t want.

Pruning is important – apart from very selective pruning while the plant is becoming established the main pruning is a heavy cut back in late spring or early summer when flowering is finished and the new growth is appearing.  Some Wisteria growers also like to remove the seedpods as part of their pruning regime, I think the seedpods look amazing myself and don’t prune them.

Because Wisteria is such a vigorous climber they’re often best grown on a structure designed just for them, then they can’t break your fence or lift your gutters.  Wherever you grow them though their spring display is truly amazing.

Diary

Sustainable Living Festival Plant and Garden Events – Spotting native bees in your garden.  This free event is being held at the Goods Shed Function room, Junction Square, Elgin Boulevard, Wodonga.  18th November 9.15am – 9.45am.   Be amazed by what goes on in your garden when you aren’t looking and delve into the secret world of native bees.

Cover Photo 

Wisteria cascading over a pergola in the grounds of Wodonga TAFE – what an elegant sight!