Wisteria

Wisteria sinensis // floribunda // frutescens

The Wisterias are popular for their abundance of flowers and vigorous growth habit. Wisteria has been known for centuries in the Asian art of gardens. Ideal for high greening. There are several hybrid forms which cannot be identified according to the direction of their twining  etc, hence an exact species identification based on eg the twining (right or left) of available Wisterias is almost impossible. A poisonous plant. Inadequate espalier planning and maintenance can cause considerable building damages.

>>>  Price A  / Price B

Wisteria sinensis

Requirements / Price

Position in full sun is best, areas with no direct sun but a high light density (eg courtyards) or semi-shade are possible, but plants will produce less flowers. Distance from plant to plant: 3 - 8 m.

 

  • 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 20m height, a “Green Octopus” - the young strangling arms reaching an action radius of more than 1m.  Light-shunning growth, into nooks and crannies etc, with blast-effect. Feathery leaves, mostly light green, sometimes with an orange-brown tinge. Foliage from May to November, rarely with yellow autumn colouring.

 

Flower and Fruit

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. Fruit are long hairy pods. Non-grafted specimens often develop flowers after many years only, and in some cases bear but a few flowers.

 

Pruning

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

Climbing Plant Support System

Sturdy, preferably rod-like support systems, designed for anticipaded height and width of plant. A simple linear system rather than covering large areas, no timber trellises. Wire ropes are suitable if the main stem is guided strongly 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 render is prevented should windy conditions make the newel and hence the plant turn around. 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 case of pot plants Easy or Medium systems will be adequate.

Appropriate wire rope systems?

Please click the icon for showing the full suitability chart

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

Greening Facades with Wisteria

This pircture gallery shows many other examples of facades greened with wisteria.

Old wisteria in spring, Halle / Saxony-Anhalt
Flowering glycine in Crete
Lush greenery with wisteria
Wisteria, full florification
Wisteria on a balcony? No problem as this picture proofes.
Depending on the variety, the color of the flowers can turn out slightly grey, especially when they wither
Wisteria should not be planted on drainpipes! Only exeption: Wisteria frutescens
If spring flowering is over, such lush greenery with wisteria is hardly recognised
Emphasizing a vertical part of a building by greening it with wisteria
Large greenery on a prefabricated building with Wisteria
Tremendous greening with wisteria
Rigorously pruned wisteria after spring blossoming
Colorful facade, even if flowering season is over and only green foliage remains
Wisteria on a half-timbered house
Glycine in summer with red-blossoming rose
Dense greenery with wisteria, Eutin / Schleswig-Holstein
Glycine on city hall of Lichtenfels / Bavaria, some remaining blooms are scattered around
Glycine in a front yard of a Gründerzeit-house
Balcony greening with ancient wisteria
Those two wisteria are cultivated with rigorous pruning.
Glycine on a half-timbered house
Wisteria in winter, city hall Riesa / Saxony
Wisteria near marketplace of Meersburg / Baden-Württemberg
 

Greening Objects with Wisteria / Glycine

With Wisteria balconies, pergolas, posts and masts, can be greened as shown on the following pictures.

Ancient Wisteria on a pergola in the Sankeien Garden in Yokohama / Japan. Photo: Regine Hartkopf
Flowering glycine on a historic porch in Leipzig / Saxony 2005
Grennery on a banister with wisteria
Glycines 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

This photo gallery shows leaves, fruits, blossom, autumn-coloring, phenotype in winter and budding in spring.

Blossom buds of Wisteria sinensis
Blossoms of chinese wisteria sinensis
Pink wisteria blossom
White blossom, wisteria "Alba"
lushly colored blossoms with long duration of flowering offers the medium growing Wisteria frutescens.
Second-flowering of glycine in midsummer with full foliage
Pruning: Already in summer, the (side) shoots are trimmed back regularly to approx. 30-40cm, to encourage flower producing woody stems. In winter (refer photo above), they are trimmed again down to about 3 buds. From these burgeons the flower buds will gr
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
At sunny locations and years with many hours of sunshine, also autumn coloring is possible
Yellow autumn foliage in november
 
 
 
 
 
 

Avoiding building damages

Wisteria is a strong twiner and therefore can destroy almost every trellis / climbing aid. With the technique described on the following pictures, damanges can be prevented.

Stem of an old Wisteria
Already after 10 - 15 years glycines can have such big stems
Ingrown balustrade rod. In contrast to wire ropes, rods cause less building damage than ropes, nevertheless permanent twining is to be avoided.
Damaged drainpipe, after unwrapping wisteria
By leading wisteria parallel to the wire rope (after unwrapping it) damages as shown on the picture can be avoided.
Overstreched, grown-in wire rope
Rope wire "for breakfast:" this Wisteria is still 'chewing away' on its ripped out support system...
Rope system, heavy duty assembly kit. Already in the first year, the twining shoots of solitary plants reach 4-6m height, and should then be reduced to one stem per wire rope and 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. Continue below.
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 completed maintenance: here the fastening was done with flexible and adjustable vulcanised india-rubber bandages. Some emerging flower buds can be seen on the side shoots.
Climbing vertical wire ropes is rather easy for wisteria, if horizontal wires shall be greened, shoots need to be tied there
As an alternative to expensive growth support systems, pre-trained solitary specimens can be planted and trained onto columns or similar, and fastened with flexible velcro tape or elastic bands.
Stainless steel growth support with generous distance from wall.
 
 
 

Appropriate Wire Rope Systems for Wisteria

Please click on the graphic illustrations for details!

suitable             = of limited suitability             = unsuitable