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Wisteria

Wisteria has been at the heart of garden art in Asia for centuries, and is also popular here for its abundance of flowers, and the vigour and duration of its foliage; it is also ideal for high greening. There are several hybrid forms which cannot be identified according to the direction of their twining etc., so an exact species identification based on the twining (right or left) of available wisterias is almost impossible. The foliar development of wisteria is spectacular when young, but slows down after 10 - 20 years. Inadequate espalier planning or poor maintenance can cause considerable building damage. This is a poisonous plant.

>>>  Price A  / Price B

Wisteria sinensis // floribunda // frutescens

Wisteria sinensis

Requirements / Price

A location in full sun is best; areas with no direct sun but a high light density (e.g. courtyards) or semi-shade are possible, but plants will produce fewer flowers. Distance from plant to plant: 3 - 8 metres.

  • Chinese wisteria, Wisteria sinensis, grafted - Price A

  • Mini-Wisteria "Amethyst Falls" o. "Longwood Purple," grafted - Price B

Characteristics and Pruning

An extremely strong and vigorous twiner which can reach a height of 20 metres - a bit of a “green octopus” - the young arms reaching a radius of more than 1 metre. It's light-fleeing shoots grow into crevices and nooks- sometimes with a cracking or blasting-effect to the structures it enters. Feathery leaves, mostly light green, sometimes with an orange-brown tinge. Foliage from May to November, rarely with yellow autumn colouring.

 

There are blue, white, and pink varieties in two main groups: Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria) and Wisteria floribunda (Japanese Wisteria). W. sinensis flowers at the beginning of May, mostly before the shoots appear, followed in midsummer by some sparse flowers. W. floribunda flowers a little later. Another species, Wisteria frutescens (American Wisteria), develops flowers at an earlier age, but is frost tender. Opening flower buds deep blue and deep purple, fully open flowers soon fading to a grey-blue. Flowers often simultaneously with lilac. Has grey-green long, hairy fruit-pods. Non-grafted specimens often develop flowers after many years only, and in some cases, bear but a few flowers.

 

Summer and winter pruning as illustrated in photos. Regular pruning is absolutely essential to prevent damage to support systems.

Climbing Supports for the Facade

Wisteria needs sturdy, preferably rod-like support systems, designed for the anticipated height and width of the plant. A simple linear system rather than one covering large areas; no wooden trellises. Wire ropes are suitable if the main trunk is guided strictly parallel to the wires, without twining, as illustrated in the photos. The short side branches are to be arranged so that any scratching of the wall is prevented should windy conditions make them move or twist the spindles. Lightning conductors, downpipes, and eave gutters, etc.. are not to be reached by the plant; all growth supports should have a distance of 2 metres from any such building elements and to the eave gutters-- to the sides as well as from the top. For suitable rope systems, see below. Use heavy or massive systems; in the case of potted plants or for wisteria frutescens-- easy or medium systems will be adequate.

Appropriate wire rope systems?

Please click the icon to see the full suitability chart

High wisteria on old wooden trellises, city hall Riesa / Saxony
Wisteria after summer pruning
Exeptional explosion of wisteria flowers
Exeptional explosion of wisteria flowers
High wisteria with white blossoms
High wisteria with white blossoms
Two wisteria on wire ropes
Greening with wisteria

Greening Facades with Wisteria

See this gallery for many other examples of facades greened with wisteria...

Old wisteria in spring, Botanical Garden, Halle / Saxony-Anhalt
Flowering wisteria span an alleyway on the Greek island of Crete
Lush building greenery - wisteria
Wisteria, full florification
Wisteria on a balcony? No problem, as this picture prooves.
Depending on the variety, the colour of the flowers can turn out slightly grey, especially when they wither
Wisteria should never be planted on drainpipes! Only exeption: Wisteria frutescens
When the spring blossoming is over, such lush facade greening of wisteria are often not recognised as such at al
Emphasising a vertical part of a building by greening it with wisteria
Large greenery on a prefab. building with wisteria
Massive house greening with wisteria
Rigorously pruned wisteria after spring blossoming
Colourful facade, even if flowering season is over and only green foliage remains
Only possible with special care-- summery wisteria on the edge of the roof and in the snow guard
Wisteria in summer with red-blossoming climbing roses
High building greening with 2 wisteria on tensioned ropes
Dense building greenery with wisteria, Eutin / Schleswig-Holstein
Wisteria on the baroque town hall of Lichtenfels / Bavaria; some remaining blooms are scattered around
Wisteria in a front yard of a Gründerzeit-house
Balcony greening with very old wisteria
These two wisteria were cultivated with rigorous pruning. The summer blooms are not visible.
Wisteria on a traditional German half-timbered house
Wisteria in winter, town hall Riesa / Saxony
Wisteria near marketplace of Meersburg / Baden-Württemberg

Greening Objects with Wisteria

With wisteria, balconies, pergolas, posts and masts can be greened. Have a look...

A peek into the origin of wisteria culture: very old wisteria on a pergola in the Sankeien Garden in Yokohama / Japan. Photo: Regine Hartkopf
Flowering wisteria on an historic arcade in Leipzig / Saxony 2005
Grennery on a banister with wisteria
Wisteria on a steel pergola
This wisteria is growing on a massive metal-frame made of steel tubes in front of a facade
Chinese wisteria on a railing
Greening a balcony with wisteria
White wisteria on a fence
 
 
 
 

Botanical Features

Here you can see wisteria's leaves, fruits, blossoms, autumn-colouring, phenotype in winter, and budding in spring.

Flower buds (Wisteria sinensis)
Blossoms of chinese wisteria sinensis
A pink wisteria variety
White blossoms, wisteria "Alba"
Only the medium-growing variety of wisteria frutescens offers such intensely coloured blossoms with a long flowering period.
Second-flowering of wisteria in midsummer with full foliage
Pruning: already in summer, the (side) shoots are trimmed back regularly to 30-40cm, to encourage flower-producing woody stems. In winter (see photo above), they are trimmed down again to about 3 buds. From these burst the flower buds.
Strongly structured and pruned wisteria on a house wall in winter, guided along wire rope. Such a spartan stem support is necessary to prevent building damage.
The same wisteria in the following midsummer, illustrating an exemplary summer cut
Two ancient wisterias with thick stems
The healthy foliage lasts well into autumn and tends not to change colour, even when other trees and shrubs have long been in full autumn splendour.
BUT, in sunny locations and in years with a lot of sun in late autumn, beautiful autumn foliage is possible.
Yellow autumn foliage in November
 
 
 
 
 

Avoiding Building Damages

Wisteria is a strong twiner and therefore can destroy almost every trellis / climbing aid. The 'parallel stem guidance' shown here can be used to prevent damage.

Trunk of an old wisteria
After only 10 - 15 years wisteria can have such big trunks/stems
Branches grown into a railing/banister. In contrast to wire ropes, less structural damage occurs on rod-like climbing aids; nevertheless, permanent twining is to be avoided.
A wisteria-damaged drainpipe (after unwrapping the wisteria)
By leading wisteria parallel to the wire rope (as described below), deformations like those seen here (overstretched rope and bending wall bracket) can be avoided.
Overstretched, ingrown wire rope
Wire rope for breakfast! This wisteria is still 'chewing away' on its ripped out support system...
Rope system, heavy kit. The twining shoots of solitary plants already reach heights of 4-6 m in the first year, and should then be reduced to one main shoot per wire rope and be unwound from the rope (see below).
Unwound wisteria shoot guided parallel to the wire rope, in winter. This shoot is now trained as a main stem with short side shoots; the fastenings have to be checked regularly in the following years, and if required, replaced.
Stems are slightly bent and guided around wall brackets in an arching form to prevent the plant from growing into the brackets in the future; continue with next picture.
A year later, after leaf fall, the entangled shoots need to be disentangled again and pruned. The fastenings on the future main stem are replaced. Continue with next picture.
After completion of the maintenance work: here the fastening was done with flexible and adjustable sturdy rubber bandages. Some emerging flower buds can be seen on the side shoots.
Climbing vertical lines is rather easy for wisteria; if horizontal lines are also intended, shoots must be guided and tied separately.
As an alternative to expensive climbing support systems, pre-trained solitary specimens can be planted and trained onto columns or similar, and fastened with flexible velcro tape or elastic bands.
Stable stainless steel climbing support with generous distance from wall.
 
 
 

Appropriate Wire Rope Systems for Wisteria

Please click on the diagrams for details!

suitable             = of limited suitability             = unsuitable