Taxonomy of Chinese Wisteria Plants:
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones:
All wisterias are stunning bloomers, bearing large, drooping clusters of fragrant bluish-purple, lavender, mauve or white flowers in mid-spring to early summer. The picture on this page shows the white blooms of silky wisteria (Wisteria brachybotrys 'Shiro-kapitan'), but Wisteria sinensis 'Alba' also bears white flowers. They are also rabbit-proof flowers (rabbits tend not to eat any part of this plant).
Chinese wisterias are twining climbers that can wind their way at least 25' up a support. Supports must be sturdy, because the mature vines are considerably heavy.
Sun and Soil Requirements:
Caveat About Growing This Vine:
Alternate Spelling: "Wistaria" Vines:
Inducing the Vines to Blossom:
A distinction needs to be made between Chinese wisteria vines (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese wisteria vines (Wisteria floribunda), on the one hand, and American wisteria vines (Wisteria frutescens), on the other.
One problem with the Chinese and Japanese wisteria vines is waiting for a successful outcome with them -- i.e., their flowering. Waiting for them to finally flower can be just too long a wait for some folks, although some growers report success in speeding up their flowering through rigorous pruning (see above). Chinese wisteria plants respond well to pruning, so there's no need to get fussy with your pruning.
An alternate solution to the long wait for flowering, if you can afford it, is to buy an older (and consequently more expensive) specimen from your nursery. If you shop for Chinese wisteria plants in late spring at nurseries, you can scout for vines already in bloom! Although Chinese wisteria plants tolerate shade, for best blooming grow them in a sunny area.
Another problem with Japanese and Chinese wisteria vines has already been mentioned: namely, their invasiveness. You'd better be a hands-on gardener if you want to grow Chinese wisteria vines or Japanese wisteria vines. Be ruthless about keeping their growth checked through pruning or else, as powerful twining vines, they will girdle trees and kill them. In this respect, Chinese wisteria plants pose a danger similar to that of Oriental bittersweet vines. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), you need to prune them anyhow to encourage blooming, so there shouldn't be any temptation to let the vines grow beyond reasonable bounds.
If you live in North America, you may want to buy American wisteria vines, instead. Not only are the latter less invasive, but they also bloom faster, too. Japanese and Chinese wisteria plants are more frost-sensitive as well. American wisteria vines flower in lavender or mauve, and they will sometimes bloom again in September.
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