The Q&A Archives: Planting Chinese Wisteria

Question: I was just given a bare root Chinese Wisteria. I live in zone 5 and it's still quite cold. Is it too early to plant this outside. It's about 36" tall. Should I plant in a planter indoors first? What type of soil and fertilizer should I use? I'm fairly new at gardening and any advise will be appreciated! I certainly don't want to kill this plant!

Answer: The bare root plant should still be dormant, so it's best to plant it right away and allow it to "wake up" naturally as the season progresses. This plant is not terribly fussy, although it prefers a moist, deep, well drained loam. Plant it in a location with plenty of sun, digging a hole that is deep enough to accommodate the entire root system plus about about two feet wider than the existing root system. First loosen the soil throughout and below that area to a depth of about 18 inches, then make a mound or cone of soil in the center and drape the roots over that so the plant ends up at the same depth as it grew originally. Fill in the soil, tamping gently as you go, water the plant thoroughly, and add a layer of organic mulch to cover the area several inches deep. Water regularly (water deeply less often rather than a daily light sprinkling) to keep the soil moist until the plant is well established. You might use a bit of complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 according to the label instructions for new plantings. Finally, make sure you plant it where it will have either an extremely sturdy support such as 6 or 8 inch square beams or can be trained into a tree form. This vine is ultimately huge and very strong and very heavy.

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