There is no doubt that Wisteria can be one of the most spectacular flowering plants in the garden. Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) can grow to 20-30 feet and is at its best from late April to June. It is a member of the pea family and produces a cascade of splendid fragrant blue flowers.
Despite the regular summer pruning back to 6 buds, our plants were getting rather large, tangled and out of hand so in February this year Carol undertook a major prune, removing some of the most wayward stems and cutting back to three buds. It has responded well and is producing a really good show of flowers. I really like the contrast of the blue wisteria with these Ronaldo and Grand Perfection tulips.
New plants can take up to ten years or more to flower so when buying a Wisteria it is well worth buying a plant that is already in bloom. In this way you know that you are going to get a plant that will perform for you in a relatively short space of time. The other crucial thing to think about is how you are going to support what will be a very heavy plant. Many train Wisteria on strong wires against a wall or house. Here we wanted to view it from all sides and so have grown it around a framework of arched steel rods. In around 15 years it has developed some substantial twisted stems that are a feature in their own right.
On the same supports we also grow Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ which is a native species of North America. A little more compact than its oriental cousins, it tends to flower a little later and so continues the show into the early summer.
If you want an even taller wisteria then you could consider the Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). This can grow to 40-60 feet and can be distinguished from the Japanese Wisteria by the fact that the stems twine in the opposite direction – that is anticlockwise rather than clockwise.
The flowering of the Wisteria in the garden is anticipated eagerly every year and rarely does it disappoint.