Courtesy Photo 
                                Wisteria is great for coverage, but it can get out of control if you don’t keep it pruned.

Courtesy Photo Wisteria is great for coverage, but it can get out of control if you don’t keep it pruned.

Wisteria lame if you don’t keep it under control with pruning

Out of all the different types of vines that I have sold over the years, wisteria is by far the queen of them all. It is the personification of what people think of as a vine, and when gardeners want a plant that will travel and cover some space, I always recommend wisteria. But, it’s not a plant for the faint of heart. If left unattended, it can rip the shingles off your roof, tear down gutters or topple your fence. In a few short years it can climb to the top of an 80-foot tree. The stems can become so large that they will eventually crumble the very boards that were designed to support them. It can devour your yard before your very eyes. Worst of all, often it won’t even bloom. However, when properly maintained, a wisteria vine can be glorious. The question then becomes: “How do I “properly maintain my wisteria so it won’t eat my house and will bloom every year?”

Here is some guidance…

“Why doesn’t my wisteria bloom?” When you purchase a wisteria, ask for a plant that has been grafted. Seedling plants can take 10 to 15 years to come into bloom, but a plant that has been grafted will usually bloom the first year you plant it. Be sure you understand where the graft is located, because any growth that develops from below the graft will need to be continually removed. Wisterias will grow just about anywhere, but perform best in at least a half-day of sun and well-drained soil. Another secret to getting wisteria to keep blooming is pruning. Once it is established, you will need to do a summer pruning followed by a winter pruning or else all you will have is a huge tangle of vine and only some scattered blooms.

Here’s how you do it…

Somewhere around the 4th of July, you need to cut back all the twiggy growth to within 12 inches of the main stems. That will keep the vine within bounds and start the process of setting buds for spring. It is OK to do “light” pruning anytime, but this summer pruning must be done if you expect to have lots of flowers the following spring – it may take two seasons before you start reaping the rewards of this regime. For the rest of the summer you can let your wisteria grow.

Preferably late February or early March you should again shorten all the twiggy growth – this time you need to cut it back to within 6 to 9 inches of the main stems – stubs that you have left are where the flowers will develop for spring. This is an aggressive pruning program that may seem extreme but it works. Your wisteria vine will be tidy and full of blooms instead of a rat’s nest of twigs and few-to-no blooms.

If you follow this regime you should have a well-mannered vine with lots of fragrant blooms around this time of year, which will make all that pruning worth the time and effort.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at info@sunnysidenursery.net.

More in Business

More new goodies to be looking for in 2020

By Steve Smith Back in September, I introduced you to several new… Continue reading

A hardy fall container.
Garden list of things to do this month

By Steve Smith Here’s an all-in-one-place list of chores for the month.… Continue reading

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, but do it anyway to have flowers during winter

By Steve Smith As the temperature drops, along with all the leaves… Continue reading

Planting bulbs now can bring you beautiful flowers like tulips and daffodils later on. (Courtesy Photo)
Bulbs: Mother Nature’s little anti-depressants

By Steve Smith The dark season is upon us, and it seems… Continue reading

You can have a fun bud-blooming time this winter

By Steve Smith First off, I suspect you would like an explanation… Continue reading

From left, Fahlman, Nehring, Pierce and Craven
Business Summit talks about future of Cascade Industrial Center

MARYSVILLE – If you want the Cascade Industrial Center to be a… Continue reading

A geranium. (Courtesy Photo)
Don’t let begonias be bygones; save them until spring

By Steve Smith With the mercury dipping into the low 30s I… Continue reading

Globe 3rd in state for general excellence

MARYSVILLE – The Marysville Globe placed third in the largest circulation category… Continue reading

Mums in fall. (Courtesy Photos)
Out with the old, in with the new in colorful October

By Steve Smith Of all the seasons fall is my favorite and… Continue reading

Grand opening for newly expanded Arlington casino set for Oct. 24

ARLINGTON – Angel Of The Winds Casino Resort will celebrate the grand… Continue reading

The many faces of Viburnum can beautify your garden in fall

By Steve Smith We have a vast palette of plants to choose… Continue reading

Courtesy Photo 
                                ‘Winter Splash’ is something new to look for in 2020.
Looking ahead to early 2020 arrivals

By Steve Smith Back in March I introduced you to several new… Continue reading