The Q&A Archives: Wisteria

Question: I planted a 10 gallon wisteria under a ficus tree so that it will climb up the tree and will give me cascading flowers but I lost a major branch and I notice that it was terminated. Why is that and how will I prevent that happening in the future? I love wisteria but it does not bloom that much.

Answer: While I understand the effect you're trying to achieve, deliberately planting a climbing vine beneath a tree can cause real problems for the tree. As the vines grow they can become heavy enough to break the branches of the tree. The vines can also collect and hold too much moisture against the bark of the tree, which could result in insect and disease problems. I, too, love wisteria and have trained my wisteria vine into a tree form. It has a thick trunk (actually 3 vines growing close together) and I've pruned it into a canopy shape so it looks just like a tree. It's fabulous when in bloom!

If your wisteria isn't blooming well, it could be that it's not getting enough sunshine. There are three types of commonly grown wisteria; Japanese (Wisteria floribunda), Chinese (Wisteria sinensis), and Silky (Wisteria venusta). Japanese and Silky wisteria bloom after the leaves expand, and Chinese wisteria blooms before the leaves expand. Any of these will make a nice free-standing tree if you train it while it's young. Best wishes with your Wisteria.

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