Wisteria is a deciduous, twining climbing plant with a long flowering period and highly scented blooms. A Wisteria in bloom is a magnificent sight with long, trailing scented blooms in either blue, purple, pink or white. Traditionally, Wisteria is grown on a south-facing wall. Wisteria rewards well, a beautiful climber flowering between April and June, and sometimes a second flush in August. Wisteria floribunda (which twines clockwise) is originally from Japan, and w.sinensis (twines anti clockwise) is from China and is the more vigorous of the two. On W.senensis the flowers appear before foliage, and on W.floribunda flowers and foliage come out at the same time.
Wisteria is vigorous, growing up to 9 meters (30ft) which means it needs a large space. It is not self supporting and requires a framework of wires or supports to grow up. It is best to put the framework in place before planting Wisteria. Although Wisteria grows well in sun, and in full sun, it will also tolerate light shade. The downside to growing Wisteria is that it is a demanding plant to grow in terms of time and attention. I have labelled it a red wheelbarrow plant.
The difficulties are not in getting Wisteria to grow, because it is a vigorous climber; the trick is to get it to flower. One essential step to get Wisteria to flower is correct pruning. Wisteria requires pruning twice a year, (summer and Winter) to ensure it flowers consistently each year. Pruning is key to flowering. As the Wisteria matures, it grows further up the wall, ladders are needed for pruning, which adds to the maintenance. Wisteria is vigorous and although it can be pruned to keep in size, it still needs a large space. It may sound obvious, Wisteria is best planted in the right place from the outset. This is because it forms very strong, woody roots and is hard to remove once established.