How to Care for Wisteria Flowers

These dramatic blooms add plenty of wow factor to your garden.

<p>Magic Flute 002/Getty Images</p>

Magic Flute 002/Getty Images

Wisteria flowers are a gorgeous addition to any garden, where they drape over trellises, garden walls, or other garden structures. And under the right conditions, they can thrive and give you plenty of shade and privacy in your yard.

Related: 20 Flowering Vines to Add Beauty (and Privacy) to Your Backyard

So how do you get those gorgeous, draping blooms to come back every spring and summer? Try these tips to help your wisteria plant thrive—without becoming a nuisance in your yard.

Choose the Right Wisteria Varieties for Your Space

WIth wisterias, there are different varieties available—but some of them may be a little too much for your space. For instance, the Chinese wisteria (wisteria sinensis) and the Japanese wisteria (wisteria floribunda) tend to grow up to 30 feet long. Unless you have a structure and space to handle that size, the native varieties may be more your speed. "If you have space for them, the Asian varieties can be an incredible choice for a large ornamental vine," says Tamara Hogan, plant expert at Fast Growing Trees. "But most people need them to be contained somehow, so American vines are typically the best way to go. They are just as vigorous with their growth and gorgeous like the Asian varieties, but don’t have the genetics to get as large."

Related: 15 Popular Plants You Should Never Grow in Your Yard

Ensure the Ideal Soil and Growing Conditions

To maximize the number of wisteria flowers that bloom, you'll need to provide your plant with the ideal growing conditions. That means, ideally, full sun and a well-fertilized, moist soil. (Wisteria plants aren't fans of drought-like conditions.)

You'll want to plant your wisteria vine in the spring or fall, in a spot away from other plants—this one needs plenty of room and could smother nearby plantings.

Choose a Garden Structure

Wisteria don't have the feet that help them grip on to structures like ivy, creepers, and other vines do, so you'll need to provide a structure. "Wisterias need something to hang onto in order to grow up," Hogan says. "So if wisteria is causing damage, it’s likely coming from the roots more than the stem portion of the plant." But even without those feet they can eventually wrap around and damage trees or other structures if they're neglected.

Hogan recommends a trellis, arbor, or even a wire along a wall to help support your wisteria vine. "Any general trellis really is great to provide that support," Hogan says. "The benefit to a plant like this is to be able to see the plant as a whole and let that plant get as much sunlight as it can. It also makes pruning more manageable since you have a designated space for that wisteria."

Taking Care of a Wisteria Plant

Wisteria plants—particularly the Japanese and Chinese varieties—need a lot of pruning to remain in tip-top shape. "This is not a plant that you likely are going to just sit back and just let it do its thing.," Hogan says. Because wisteria flowers come on first-year growth, Hogan recommends pruning in late winter to ensure new flowering. Japanese and Chinese wisteria will need additional attention. "If you have a variety like Chinese or Japanese, summer pruning is also necessary as a way to contain the plant and make sure it’s not getting places it shouldn’t or becoming a size that is unmanageable."

Frequently Asked Questions

When do wisteria flowers bloom?

Wisteria plants tend to be spring and early summer bloomers, especially in May and June—but some vigorous varieties can get in a second wave of blooms in August.

What do I do if my wisteria flowers don't bloom?

Hogan says that's likely a result of either over- or under-care for your flowers. "Make sure you are not over fertilizing and adjust your pruning. Wisteria can ignore flower production and focus on vegetative stems/leaves if they are given too much nitrogen. That in combination with improper pruning doesn’t give the plant a sense of urgency in order to flower."

Can you use wisteria flowers in bouquets or floral arrangements?

Wisteria flowers make a beautiful and dramatic addition to floral arrrangements, and can usually last up to a week with proper care.

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