This beautiful climbing plant belongs to the legume family, Fabaceae, consisting of 10 different species native to Asia and the Eastern United States. They are a popular choice for decorating your garden, especially in eastern countries like China and Japan, and they are also often used in artistic depictions. Wisteria is a broad-leafed plant that climbs across roofs, trees, shrubs, and flowers on its bare trunk before the foliage is fully regained, and it’s a spring flowering plant that flourishes in subtropical, temperate, and chilly locations. It can spread an impressive 10 meters in height as well as in width. Keep reading for more information about:
* Classification of wisteria plant
* Wisteria varieties
* Symbolism of wisteria
* How to plant wisteria
* How to care for wisteria
* Why wisteria does not flower?
Thomas Nuttall, the English botanist and zoologist, claimed that he named this genus after Dr. Caspar Wistar. Later questioned about the spelling, he stated it was for euphony. Still, his biographer thought it had something to do with Nuttall’s friend, Charles Jones Wister. Sources from Philadelphia say that this plant is named after Wister, and as the spelling is seemingly deliberate, there is no reason to change the genus name. Some spell this plant’s name as “wistaria.”
The most common, frequently seen, and easiest to grow wisteria is the Chinese wisteria. It has hanging wisteria blue clusters that give off a vanilla scent and measure at approximately 15 to 30 centimeters long. It was brought to the United States for horticulture in 1816, and the Japanese wisteria was presented in 1830. These are regarded as invasive species in some parts of the United States, because of their ability to climb, spread, and choke out the native plant species around them.
There are also different species of wisteria with longer flowers than the Chinese wisteria, some double-flowered species, as well as coming in different colors, like pink, white, and deep mauve.
One of the most stunning wisteria is the Japanese one, growing at around 8 meters in height and width, with its flower racemes hanging as low as 100 centimeters, making them quite a beautiful scene when viewed from below. There is also the Violacea Plena with double lavender flowers, Kuchi-Beni with pink-tinted flowers, and Alba, which has white flowers. There are also the American wisteria, the Kentucky wisteria, and the silky wisteria.
Wisterias were used throughout Japan for centuries, being a prevalent symbol in family heraldry and crests. One favored dance, the Fuji Musume, translated as The Wistaria Maiden is one aspect of a five-part, personifying dance, which represents a maiden becoming the manifestation of the wisteria spirit. In western culture, both in tile and stained glass, the wisteria is artistically depicted stylistically and in realism, as well as in industrial designs.
How to Plant a Wisteria?
It is highly advisable to plan before planting, because the wisteria plant can spread widely, and may choke up nearby plants, obscure or obstruct certain spots in your garden, or fully take over them. They can grow without a supporting structure into a mound, but it is best to grow and train it on a supporting structure, like a tree or a pergola. The best way to support it is with a pergola, being especially nice to display it in your garden and view it from underneath. It can also grow along wires on the walls.
Ensure that the structure is made of metal or treated timber, and in case wires are used to support the wisteria, make sure they are sturdy and well attached to the wall. It is also important to grow and train the wisteria in such a way that you have access to all sides of it so that you can prune and train it without much discomfort.
How to Care for Your Wisteria?
This plant needs a lot of sunshine to develop, mature, and flower properly. In locations where the sun is obscured, it can grow, but it may not flower as well. They are resilient to diseases, and pests rarely attack them and require very little extra fertilizer. Wisteria can also enrich the soil in which they are planted with nitrogen, given the fact that they are legumes.
To manage and control your wisteria, it is advisable to prune it after it flowers, as well as in summer. This can be done by removing the wayward stems and shortening the main stem, ensuring that you leave several buds. Also, don’t prune it in winter, because that removes flowering wood. As the plant develops and matures, its growth slows down, therefore requiring less pruning in general.
As it grows, it is also important to train the wisteria along with the pergola or wires. Check often if the wandering stems have invaded neighboring buildings and plants, and remove them without hesitation.
Wisteria’s long hanging seed pods can be removed after flowering by pruning or left as an autumn or winter feature. During cold times, they drop or can be cut off.
This is a long-leaved plant, and when old, they develop grey, thick stems. Old wisterias can get attacked by borers, borrowing into their stem, and woody, old stems may rot. These stems should be removed from the base, because this reinvigorates the plant, giving it a newfound vigor to grow and flourish.
Why Doesn’t Your Wisteria Flower?
This question is asked quite frequently among gardeners in autumn when they see other wisterias bloom. There are numerous motives why wisterias don’t flower, from ill-timed winter pruning to possums eating the buds in spring.
Other reasonable reasons can be drought, lack of sunshine, over-nourishment that favors leafy and not flowery growth, and plant immaturity. At the same time, there are cases when wisterias mature and flower after several years, there are also some rare wisterias that, due to the original cutting material, do not flower. While there are these rare cases, most plants flower after a while, provided that they get enough sunlight and good watering, particularly in the late winter when the buds form, and spring and summer when the wisteria’s development is at its peak. A few wisterias produce flowers even after the main sprout, during summer.