Serving your perennial, flowerbulb, fruit and vegetable plant needs since 1957.

Wisteria sinensis

Wisteria is probably one of the best-loved climbing plants. Chinese wisteria is a spectacularly beautiful, deciduous vine that grows vigorously to 30' or more and features 6-12" long racemes of mildly-fragrant, pea-like, blue-violet flowers in May when the foliage is just beginning to expand. Flowers are held in grape-like clusters and bloom somewhat simultaneously on the racemes thus producing a dramatic floral display. Flowers give way to pendant, velvety, bean-like seed pods (4-6" long) which ripen in autumn and may persist into winter. Compound, odd-pinnate, deep green leaves (each leaf typically with 7-13 leaflets).

This is an excellent vine for large, sturdy, freestanding arbors, pergolas, posts, trellises, fences or terrace walls, and can be particularly effective when grown near or above patios where the flowers can be enjoyed in season. May also be trained as a specimen shrub or tree. Over time, the stems of this vine become twisted, trunk-like and massive.

Plant Details +

Botanical Wisteria sinensis
Common Name Chinese wisteria
Family Fabaceae
Height 30' vine
Spacing 4-8'
Hardiness Zones 4-9
Exposure Full sun
Foliage Vigorous green
Flower Blue-violet
Bloomtime May - June

General Information +

General Characteristics: Full sun is needed for best flowering. Can be invasive (rampant growth plus rooting surface runners). This vine needs space and a sturdy support structure on which to grow. It can be slow to establish. Although vines may produce flowers by the second or third year after planting, it may take much longer (sometimes up to 15 years). Needs regular pruning in order to control size and shape of the plant and to encourage flowering, such as a pruning back of stems in early summer after bloom and in winter. Root pruning in late fall may also stimulate flowering for the following spring. Improper pruning may overly stimulate vegetative growth at the expense of flowers. An application of superphosphate in early spring can also help stimulate flowering. Choose growing sites wisely because plants dislike being transplanted. Considered a high maintenance plant because of its need for regular pruning, its invasive tendencies and its vulnerability to late spring frost damage to flower buds. Failure of vines to produce flowers may be attributable to a number of causes including the death of flower buds in winter, too much shade, plants too young (especially seed grown ones), improper pruning or overfertilization. In contrast to the very similar Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), Chinese wisteria differs by counterclockwise twining, fewer leaflets per leaf, shorter flowering racemes of less fragrant flowers that bloom simultaneously on each raceme and blue-violet flower color.

Planting/Care Instructions +

Planting Instructions: Dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the root meets the stem) is about 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly. Best grown in slightly acidic, humusy, moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun.

Pests or Diseases: Although susceptible to a number of foliage-chewing insects and fungal diseases, none are significant