The Q&A Archives: Non-Blooming Wisteria

Question: We have a wisteria that covers our fence we planted 11 years ago. Each year it comes out in full foilage but never blooms. I heard it can take a very long time to bloom if it is the wrong kind. Any suggestions?

Answer: Sometimes it just takes a few years for Wisteria to become established enough to bloom but 11 years is a long time to wait! You might be able to help things along by pruning your wisteria annually (during the winter months) and by withholding fertilizer. Too much nitrogen will result in lots of lush, green growth at the expense of blooms. Wait until January or February and prune by cutting back or thinning out side shoots that grow from the main (or structural) stem. If your plant has multiple stems it's okay, it just means that your wisteria will produce lots and lots of side shoots. Anyway, remove some of the side shoots and shorten the others. Leave 2-3 buds on each of the shoots that you're cutting back. During the summer months you can cut back some of the long streamers that tend to tangle themselves into the rest of the plant. If your wisteria fails to bloom the spring after you've pruned, you can get its attention by doing a little root pruning. This will shock it into performance. Just take a spade and make cuts straight down from the soil surface into the root zone. Hope these suggestions help!

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