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Wisteria tips.

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Many years ago I purchased a Wisteria , I tended it loved it pruned it as recommended wasnt too worried about no flowers at first as Garden Centre said they can take up to 10 years to flower.

Years later still no flowers and eventually learnt that it is possible to buy dud plants that will never flower.

It wasnt cheap and I must admit to being more than a little irritated when I see Garden Centres stock up on Wisterias in the height of summer when plants are full of leaf growth and unsuspecting purchasers assume this to be a sign of good flower potential . Sadly it isnt.

Of course it seems to make sense to plant a Wisteria in leaf giving it a chance to establish itself before flowering the following year.With average prices approaching £30+ for what seems a well established one , I believe they should show signs of having flowered for that price.Why dont Garden centres sell ones dripping in flowers at this time of year – they always mark up Rhododendrons during their brief flowering period .So why not Wisteria ?

How often do you see a Wisteria in flower for sale ?

Forgive me for being contentious but I think this allows them to off load all Wisteria on the grounds that all you need is patience ..

If considering purchasing one now is the time to do it as flowers are borne before leaf growth and I think its remiss of Garden Centres especially to continue to peddle this 10 year rule.Call me suspicious but who is likely to take their Wisteria back in 10 years time complaining it hasnt flowered ?

If you cant see any sign of flowering buds now then ignore it.

Do make sure you can see evidence of the plant being grafted on to old root stock similar to the knuckle joint at the base of the plant you see on grafted roses.Some Wisteria may have been grown from seed , they rarely come true to type and have a poor chance of flowering.

I m sure there may be someone reading this whos Wisteria has burst into flower for the first time in years and thats great congratulations on your patience , perhaps its just me but as I get older 10 years seems an awful long time to wait ! Sadly there will be others who ve had my initial experience , personally I would only suggest buying one if you can see a flower bud to reduce the chance of a dud purchase.

Nurseries are the place to head for independent ones are ideal as often develop there own free from chain bulk purchase.Some may have become hidden for a few years in the larger nurseries and you may have a better chance of finding a mature one with flower buds on.

You may be real lucky and find the little gem I did.

Amidst the taller more elegant – and more expensive – ones was a little one no more than 12" high.It only had 2 small stems but each one had a big fat flower bud developing.Even if it didnt like trying to establish roots whilst trying to flower I knew it had the potential to produce them the following year.

So neglected it looked and so small only cost £5.It was so grateful to be released from its pot it burst into life .

Flower buds appear like small cones and this distinguishes them from leaf growth.

As flowers develop new leaf growth follows and strong leader stems form .These are the stems that should be saved to form the main framework.

The new green stem on right was allowed to develop in height. The wispy side shoots from older stems and from this new one are cut back to 12" in August.

As plant dies back in autumn winter these side shoots harden and are cut back again around end of February to about 4" in length just above the small budding joint you should see forming.Doing this is essential to prevent leaf growth prior to flowering.These pics were taken last April .

We have only lived here 3 years and from 2 buds it has progressed this year to ..

Still quite small but in a few weeks ..

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Comments

 

A very informative blog BB,lots of good advice.
Having seen a pic of this plant previously on Goy I thought you must have had it for years !
I must admit I have never been tempted before as I thought they must be difficult and I'm too impatient to wait . I have always been happy to admire from afar.If we ever have a suitable wall to plant it near I now know what to look out for.
GC's do seem to get away with this kind of robbery,as you say no-one will return it ten yrs later.

21 May, 2010

 

Thank you for this Bonkersbon, Ive been waitng about 12 years and even this year still no flowers, leaves yes buds no lol, I have read they like to be neglected and don't water them, but if the leaves droop to feed with rose feed. Also I have read they like to be grown out to the side like you have got it as it saves energy.

I am not too sure if this is gospel as there is one at the back of the main road growing like a massive tree and it never gets pruned or looked after yet is in full flower every year. Yes just recently I have seen two garden centres with them in with blooms on, first time I ve seen this, so they must of been having complaints.

21 May, 2010

 

Hi BB
I have a wonderful pink Wisteria. It had a flower on it when I bought it and even though I had intended to buy a blue Wisteris I bought it as it looked healthy. Each year it had a few extra blooms and now it is my pride an joy. It took years of waiting but it was worth while.
Best wishes
Linda

21 May, 2010

 

Hi Aster sorry bit of a bug bear of mine as feel like Linda says should be able to purchase them with evidence of buds or flowers , you dont mind waiting for more flowers each year so long as theres evidence of being able to produce them .. I would say a really hard prune is better than none at all , sorry if pruning sounds a bit complex hope I havent put you off.

You could well be right Sixpence as very old mature wisterias need little pruning.You may have seen old wisteria dripping in flowers over cottages without a leaf in sight.They have been pruned so consistently over many years that even side stems are like tree branches this eventually reduces leaf production.Well done for finding them in flower ! these are obviously the ones to buy.

21 May, 2010

 

It's brilliant, and good job you found it with buds on.
I agree 10 yrs is a long time to wait for a flower. - I don't think I'd bother unless I found one with a bud like you did.

21 May, 2010

 

Hi, I planted a wisteria round the bridal swing last autumn. It was a reactant purchase as I had heard all the talk about them being difficult and having to be pruned right. It be honest I thought I had killed it. The ground was so hard I gave up trying to make a big hole with plenty of goodness, and it got squashed into a hole not much bigger then its root ball.
I paid £12.50 in a small independent garden center and couldn't believe my luck when last week I saw loads of flowers on it!
I believe one of the tricks to getting a good plant, any plant, is talking to the owner and picking his brain as to which plant is a reliable variety.
But read you pruning tips with interest.
Sandy

21 May, 2010

 

Hi, I planted a wisteria round the bridal swing last autumn. It was a reactant purchase as I had heard all the talk about them being difficult and having to be pruned right. It be honest I thought I had killed it. The ground was so hard I gave up trying to make a big hole with plenty of goodness, and it got squashed into a hole not much bigger then its root ball.
I paid £12.50 in a small independent garden center and couldn't believe my luck when last week I saw loads of flowers on it!
I believe one of the tricks to getting a good plant, any plant, is talking to the owner and picking his brain as to which plant is a reliable variety.
But read your pruning tips with interest.
Sandy

21 May, 2010

 

Yes Hywel it certainly saves a lot of guess work if you can see a flower doesnt it ?

You did well Sandygirl and agree the independents give you a more personal service.As you purchased in autumn the owner may have pruned it earlier , your plant will require subsequent pruning to keep it flowering well.

21 May, 2010

 

Fantastic info there Ray, thank you. On my favourties now for future reference. Your photos are excellent too. No doubt Dotty will join in as she's had a similar experience to what you describe. I'm on year 3 now and still no flowers, if only I'd know what your educating me with before I made my purchase. My Mum saw some in full flower at the car boot last year for £6 and didnt get me one :-( Mine is loaded with leaf though, which is OK but not enough. So you suggest now is the time to find one in flower.

21 May, 2010

 

Yes Dawn they are out there but in meantime keep faith with one you have and prune August and Feb - sometimes people get fed up waiting and give them a real hard prune and that does the trick.

£6 for one in full flower sounds a much better bargain than £30 for one in full leaf .

21 May, 2010

 

Great blog Bb! I'm on my 3rd Wisteria....the first flowered after 7 years, after I had given up looking for the flowerbuds every Spring, the 2nd flowered the 2nd year...stunning dark purple blooms. This was a Spanish one and it thrived in the hot, dry climate. The one I have now is 3 years old and I moved it last year to a south facing wall...hoping it would like the position better. I have pruned it like you say.....but still waiting............

21 May, 2010

 

Thanks Ray, I'll follow your advice.

21 May, 2010

 

I have a dud too ;o(

like yours very much Ray & Jane

21 May, 2010

 

They have quite a root system Janey so moving it will set it back so dont worry about flowers this year.Should be able to prune this year and it will certainly appreciate south facing.

Think you ve summed it up perfectly Janey waited 7 years for one to flower next one flowered after 2 , I would suggest that your second choice more viable . Personally I find when people have said they have waited years for their wisteria to flower , they ve got fed up waiting and pruned it real hard.

The next year its bloomed well.

Aw SBG not far from you so how about a visit around August I ll prune for you .. x

21 May, 2010

 

Great blog Ray, I have always been pleased with ones I have purchased over the years from one nursery, unfortunately I will have to find a new source as the ground that nursery is on is being built on. Having looked them over when flowering in their pots, when purchasing other shrubs, I then go back in the winter to buy the ones I want. Once in a hurry on a cold winters day I selected one of the strongest only to find it was a white one. Lots of people grow them straight up, I tie mine in at an angle of 45 degrees.

22 May, 2010

 

thanks for all that info BB, a wisteria is on my wish list.
i wouldnt have thought of looking for all these signs when buying one

22 May, 2010

 

glad you found one with flowers on BB.... i plante done in my last house and after 3 years i had to move and it hadnt flowered when i left.... but had loads of leaves...... wonder if its flowered since...

22 May, 2010

 

enjoyed reading this ray as i love them and see one on my way to work which is huge and full of flowers every year, wish i had some where to plant on, my back garden is shade against house wall and front is full sun but is block paved unfortunatly,;o(

25 May, 2010

 

Hi Bb, good blog, pruning advise very welcome as I have bought 2 wisterias this year, both bursting with buds, almost ready to flower. Both are w. amethyst falls which blooms very young, they are still in their pots. One is to go over an arch and I've no idea what I'm going to do with the other...you know what it's like at a show... The one I bought off ebay is the larger of the two and the other was from the Malvern Spring Show. Both very reasonably priced :-)

25 May, 2010

 

Aye Sandra they can be grown in pots for a while but need to be very large to do them justice if always going to remain in one.Ps hope yo enjoyed your break .Welcome back.

Sure you ll find somewhere Bornagain its always handy to have on in reserve lol Amethyst Falls very popular in US have a relative in North Carolina ( No its not Flowercrazy ! ) and she said these were the ones you could see dripping off those old colonial houses.

25 May, 2010

 

thanx ray, our break was very mixed to say the least lol, in my blog ray when you get a min ;o))

25 May, 2010

 

On my way ..

25 May, 2010

 

;o))

25 May, 2010

 

Oh wow dripping wisteria...can't wait! :-)

26 May, 2010

Sid
Sid
 

Thanks for this blog Ray/Jane - very interesting reading and also reading everyone's Wisteria stories underneath!!

My story is that a couple of years ago during winter I popped into a gc...as you know, I'm a bit of a bargain hunter and winter is a great time to scour gcs for all those plants they didn't sell during the summer and are getting rid of for cut price!! Anyway, I found a decent-sized wisteria -about 3ft tall - trained around a bamboo trellis support. Get this for pricey - the original price was £65!!! But they were selling it off for £5!!!! Obviously it was worth a punt, so bought it and planted it against my arch. The following spring it produced two flowers - unfortunately, they weren't the lovely long flowing flowers I'd expected, but little round bunches. Not sure if this is the variety, or whether they came like that coz not established? Anyway, it did produce growth that summer. However, it didn't flower the following spring and all the growth it had produced died right back. This spring I thought it was dead, but there are two tufts of leaves right down low. Not sure what the moral of this story is lol Imagin having paid £65 quid for it! Whether it will ever flower again and whether those flowers would be those rather boring bunches again I don't know.

26 May, 2010

 

Every spring I see these beauties cascading over some of the tallest trees along the roadside, I've always wondered if it would take if from a cutting? Haven't seen any on our property but I have never been shy about asking a neighbour.

26 May, 2010

 

Aye Sid think I remember you posting a pic when you purchased It ?
Forgive me if way off beam here but wasnt it descibed as an American blue wisteria?

These are quite different from the Chinese varieties ( wisteria sinensis ) commonly seen here.Its all getting a little confusing now we ve got onto American wisteria some are described as frost tender yet Bornagains Amethyst falls are grown widely throughout US.

I think yours may have been severly frost damaged Sid and as perhaps a more tender variety a reason for the dramatic price reduction ? American varieties flower later June /July .

Are you still with me ? Native American werent grafted as obviously grew naturally but think amethyst falls has been to increase its hardiness and flowering potential. Responds to similar pruning techniques to ours.

Mm sorry trying to help think you may have an original American wisteria that not fully hardy here Sid ..perhaps fleecing it over winter would help ?

Hi Georgiamum just what I need further stuff on American wisteria lol believe they are truly beautiful in towns like Savannah cuttings from non grafted American varieties should take well ..

26 May, 2010

Sid
Sid
 

Eeeeerrrrrrmmmmm.......you've got a better memory than I have lol I'll check the lable when I get home.

27 May, 2010

 

Great blog BB, good photos and sound advice. :-)

6 Jun, 2010

Sid
Sid
 

Finally got around to checking that lable and - yup you're right, it's an American one and it's 'Amethyst Falls' too. BUT it does say the flowers should be long....doesn't mention them looking like round balls of flowers...?? Anyway, those little tufts of green now seem to be growing away quite nicely....the saga thus continues....

7 Jun, 2010

 

Sid, the flowers on amethyst falls are not the lovely long dangles, but are rather lovely 'tho smaller than I thought from the label pic. In fact I think the whole plant is smaller and not so rampant, it flowers on young plants for the impatient (me) but fast growing and I was a bit disappointed with the length of the flowers:-( Still, you can't have everything, and the leaves are also lovely:-)

8 Jun, 2010

 

Thanks Muddy .

Ok Sid as Bornagain has one may be able to confirm Amethyst Falls are grafted types.My - somewhat limited - understanding is that the indigenous American Wisteria is very tender and grows in warm frost free zones Texas , Georgia , Florida etc.

Amethyst Falls was developed by grafting to be hardier for zones across US much like our own .It would be their equivalent of our grafted ones.

As US have their own variety I dont think they grafted Wisteria Sinensis and regard it as a thug I m still wondering about the label and suspect you may have an American blue which flowers on new growth in mid summer.

If you can see a definite grafting point on it Sid then Im wrong..

8 Jun, 2010

Sid
Sid
 

I don't recall seeing a graft, but I'll have a closer look when I get home.

15 Jun, 2010

 

What a saga! And what a very useful and helpful blog. We live in a terrace, and the neighbour on the north side and end of the terrace has a long established and quite prolific wisteria which as it has moved south grows around our balcony rail. It is now producing a 2nd flowering -- in July.

The neighbour on the south side planted a wisteria about 5 or 6 years ago. It's been all growth and few flowers, and is a tiresome menace. Last year she had it cut back severely, reducing the growth to a couple of stems --most of which, incidentally, grow over our part of the terrace , up to the eaves, and onto the roof given a chance. This year if flowered reasonably well. In fact, this was a great year for wisteria, of which there are some superb well established ones around Henley, including a veritable forest of them at nearby Greys Court.

Your advice about taking care when purchasing, and with early pruning are s-o-o-o to the point. I'll never plant a wisteria, sandwiched as we are between our two neighbours' plants, experience of one of which, combined with your saga, is a warning to a gardner like me who, while welcoming to plants that not only survive, but thrive, is very cautious about importing thugs into my small garden!

27 Jul, 2010

 

Thank you for your comment Kowhai yes left untended for any length of time they revert to green leafed monster climbers .Hopefully Lindaloo will see your comment and take heart from the success your neighbour had following a hard prune.

Its the only way once they start and you have my sympathy to be surrounded by two - you must feel almost strangled by them at times.Those well established beauties must be decades in some cases possibly centuries old.

They seem to drip with flowers long before any leaf shows and some hardly seem to produce leaf at all.Wonderful.

You live in a lovely area many years since visited Greys Court with the large donkey wheel and recall a huge magnolia growing up side of house like a climber ?

27 Jul, 2010

 

Thanks for all the valuable info on wisterias. I was given one in April (see my blog) and have kept it in a pot as we may move house. I'm not expecting flowers this year, must decide how to prune/train it to keep it in a reasonable "standard" shape. I shall certainly keep this blog as a favourite

13 Aug, 2010

 

Good luck with the move Rachel - that was a nice gift .Assume it has lots of leaf growth now the new wispy stems formed this year are the ones to cut back to about 30cms ( 12 ") .

Its usual to do this , this month .Normally would save a couple of new stems to train up a wall but if left in pot for a while all new growth can be cut as described as new spurs develop freely when ready to plant in its final position.

Fingers crossed for it and hope you get some flowers as Floribunda variety known for longer scented ones.

15 Aug, 2010

 

i got flowers right away. had mine bt 4 or 5 years but did not know how to prune till gardener frend told me . still not quite sure but its going mad now .i allways get a small 2nd flush. this month. i hacked it and thort i had killed it .but then it shot up the wall lol. b 4 it was more like a shrub. gona put this oin favs as i can then refer to it .thanks

18 Aug, 2010

 

ps am training a new 1 up pergola its bt 2 ft high as dog chewed it all of wen and how shud i treat it . ta.

18 Aug, 2010

 

Thanks Cristina guess it shows that even if not sure how to prune a good cut is better than leaving them to grow unchecked.If your dog has chewed all the new growth off your new plant dont worry about pruning now.

They will soon begin to drop leaves come autumn and can be pruned again come early spring .If it helps I ll add pics to this blog to talk you through it as seasons progress.

19 Aug, 2010

 

o that be great bonkers, will b a great help. thankyou. its bt 2 ft now. and taken me best part of year to get it going again lol .will it grow any more this year.

19 Aug, 2010

 

Yes Cristina it may do. Perhaps best not to prune until late February so as to give it a chance to recover.

19 Aug, 2010

 

ok thanks have put in favs so can keep up wth it

19 Aug, 2010

 

This might sound weird but the man across the road has it growing on the front fence & when it didn't flower for a few years a neighbour down the street came over & dug around & beat the roots of the plant to make it flower. It's had blooms ever since. It has also covered his fence & is working it's way up the front porch. I took a picture of it once, not in bloom though & will post it. Might be different from what you have there. The flowers on his look much darker.

25 Sep, 2010

 

Lol Floralhead certainly a new one on me ..heard of using canes on plants but thought this was in a more supportive role ..the idea of giving them a good thrashing if they dont flower may well appeal to anyone who s waited years for theirs to produce blooms.Think it may well qualify as plant abuse nowadays.

As a matter of possible interest I searched wisteria thrashing lol not expecting any result but .. yes really you can find anything on this internet thing - came across an old reference of a family in Lexington , Kentucky US who thrashed their wisteria with chains to get it to flower ! I suspect that just by cutting them hard back prior to this was more effective ....

Neighbours variety may be a Floribunda ( Japanese ) Wisteria there are some lovely dark cultivars Black Dragon ..think Andrewr has one , is a beauty.

26 Sep, 2010

 

I think he was frustrated enough to let the neighbour try just about anything....it sure spread after that though

26 Sep, 2010

 

lol i found that so funny .still lafing

26 Sep, 2010

 

the fact that he had to beat the plant to get it to co-operate? I wouldn't dare try that with any other plant thats for sure!

26 Sep, 2010

 

omg nooooooooooooooooo lol

3 Oct, 2010

 

hi bb, do you use any fertilizer on your wisteria? I just ordered one from the internet, (unfortunately, i didnt look at garden centres if they're on flower)... and I am hoping and praying they will bloom... because 10 years is a very long wait for me! :-(

6 Mar, 2013

 

Sorry late to this Jean....not here very often nowadays but just to say do plant your wisteria nice and deep in a large hole with a mulch as they hate to be disturbed.The tendrils will grow towards the sun..so when planting in a sunny spot remember to allow enough room for them to grow towards the East.Hope this helps.....and hope this is a nice variety...good luck !

9 Mar, 2013

 

fantastic reminder tio prun mine ... carnt wait to see it in flower

10 Mar, 2013

 

Good luck this year Cristina !

17 Mar, 2013

 

thanks a lot bb :-) though, the area we're planning on planting it, is not east facing :-(

19 Mar, 2013

 

No worries Jean..as long as its not North facing !!

29 Mar, 2013

 

Wow! What an informative site! It's wisteria season again, and with abated breath, I'm waiting to see if my floribunda alba (white Japanese) will flower. It was an expensive purchase (£50) after an inspirational Easter visit to Sorrento, Italy. If you enjoy wisterias, go there in spring. Everywhere you look, arbours, trellises where dripping in lilac deliciousness, all the stone walls were smothered in them!

19 May, 2013

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