Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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