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Wisteria Hysteria

After 20 long sad and barren years of looking wistfully at my precious wisteria which has remained flowerless for all this time has suddenly burst into a cascade of floral abundance.After years of trying to cajole my wisteria  into flower, this year I read up on the whole subject – and applied every piece of advice, including a strict regime of pruning. To my amazement my stubborn plant has finally decided to placate me and become floriferous and I can honestly say it was worth waiting for!


The secret to my success:  Wisteria needs regular pruning to keep the growth and size under control, but it will also improve the flowering display. Although it seems complicated, wisteria pruning is quite simple if you follow these simple guidelines:  Wisteria is pruned twice a year, in July or August, then again in January or February.

Summer pruning (July or August)

Cut back the whippy green shoots of the current year’s growth to five or six leaves after flowering in July or August.

This controls the size of the wisteria, preventing it getting into guttering and windows, and encourages it to form flower buds rather than green growth.

Winter pruning (January or February)

Then, cut back the same growths to two or three buds in January or February (when the plant is dormant and leafless) to tidy it up before the growing season starts and ensure the flowers will not be obscured by leaves.

The most common problem gardeners have with wisteria is poor flowering. This can be caused by a number of reasons, including:

  • Young plants grown from seedlings can take 20 years to flower, so avoid disappointment by either buying a plant while it is in flower or choosing a named cultivar
  • Check your pruning technique and timing
  • Take care to water in dry spells between July and September, when flower buds are forming for next year, as drought at this time can result in failure to bloom
  • Be aware that sharp spring frosts can damage developing flowers, causing them to drop before they open, or to develop in a distorted fashion

I followed all these pieces of advice and the end result is a splendiferous display of wisteria pendulous racemes in full flower.

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