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Synonymous with country cottage gardens, Wisteria sinensis is a delightful deciduous climber that adds a shower of flower coverage over a wall, fence or even mature trees where they cascade down.

Wisterias grow well in well-drained soil in full sun, so a South or West-facing wall is perfect. If they are a little shaded, they will still grow happily, but may produce fewer flowers. You can admire their beautifully fragrant flowers when they bloom in spring and summer, and the bees will love them too.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Chalk, sand, clay, or loam

Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria)

Growing taller than 12m tall and 8m wide, this deciduous climber has dark green leaves with lilac-coloured flowers in spring and summer. They are long living and will add some charm to your wall-side border.

Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria)

Sharing many of the same characteristics of the Wisteria sinensis, the Wisteria floribunda cultivar will flower longer through summer and its varieties are known for their long, dramatic clusters of flowers.

Another difference to Wisteria sinensis is that Japanese wisteria requires more of your time in caring for it. You need to train it and prune to get the best results.

Wisteria brachybotrys (silky wisteria)

Also coming from Japan, this slightly smaller plant is a keen climber. Like its fellow family members, it loves the sunshine and will display its flowers in summer.

Flower sprays hang at 10cm long and are beautifully scented, displaying in pale lilac and rich violet buds. In winter, the flowers are followed by velvet textured seed pods.

Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ (shrubby wisteria)

More modest in its displays of colour than the other cultivars, the delicate flower displays are reminiscent of grapes on a vine.

Though not quite as hardy as the others, it will happily grow in a container and flowers throughout summer. The fragrant flowers of variety ‘Amethyst Falls’ is picture perfect light purple but with a unique spot of yellow.

Perfect pruning

Once you get into the pruning routine with wisterias, pruning twice a year, the flowers will continue to bloom year after year.

In summer, prune the excessive growth back to let the wood ripen and increase the likelihood of flowers forming for the following year. In February, shorten the shoots again, tidying the plant up before growing season begins in spring.

Once the wisteria has covered the wall, garden, or pergola, begin regular pruning to encourage flowers to bloom.

Clever companions

If you are looking to pair climbers with another plant, then Clematis has you covered. Clematis and wisteria grow well together, and the way that the plants develop together can create some stunning displays of colour, shapes, and textures, adding variety to your garden.

For example, Clematis armandi (Armand clematis) is perfect for a South or West-facing wall, where it will grow up to 8 metres tall and 2.5 metres wide in an alkaline or neutral pH soil.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Chalk, sand, clay, or loam

Try growing them together over an arch or trellis to add impact that draws the eye upwards.

Brightly coloured flowers make fantastic feature plants and wisteria will also awaken the senses with its aromatic summer blooms.

For more garden planting ideas, check out my blog:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

pots and planters
Pots and planters
flower power pinterest
Pinterest Board


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