Vines and Climbers forum→Alternatives to Wisteria

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Scofield23
May 18, 2020 4:01 PM CST
Hi! I fell in love with some photos of the Blue Moon Wisteria online ( It seemed like it'd grow well in Central Michigan also) and was about to put in an order and then I started reading about how invasive the vine was and how destructive the roots could be. The area I was planning for it faces West atop a fence that has my hydrangeas planted under it, and gets plenty of sunlight (the long fenceline in the photo).
Does anyone have any recommendations of a flower/plant/vine that grows relatively quickly and is as beautiful as the Wisteria but doesn't have the invasive root issues that would come with a Wisteria?
Thanks in advance!
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Tomaas
Aug 5, 2020 9:26 AM CST
Hi from Canberra,

The Chinese/Japanese wisteria is stunning, but can turn into a rampant nightmare if you're not vigilant.

What about Laburnum (AKA Golden Chain or Golden Rain)? Typically available is Laburnum vossii (Laburnum x watereri). Laburnum is not the mauve colour you were drawn to (in fact it's bright yellow) but the pendulous racemes are similar in character. It can be left to grow as a tree, or trained, eg over an arch, or espaliered along a fence. Worth checking out. Here are some images from the internet:

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Hope this gives you food for thought.

Stay safe.
Tomás
Coastal TX (Sunset 28/31) (Zone 9a)
JuniperAnn
Mar 7, 2021 1:32 PM CST
Blue Moon wisteria is derived from Kentucky wisteria (scientific name: Wisteria frutescens var. macrostachya), which is a sub-species of our native wisteria (Wisteria frutescens).

Blue Moon does grow big & fast, but it's not as aggressive as the two more common, non-native wisterias grown in gardens in the USA, Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda). Also, those are invasive (meaning that they can escape your garden and hurt wild ecosystems), while our native wisterias are not.

If Blue Moon wisteria is still too aggressive for that area, consider Amethyst Falls wisteria (Wisteria frustescens 'Amethyst Falls'). It's even less aggressive than Blue Moon. Also, it flowers in the first year or two after planting, while Blue Moon can take a few years to flower.

The disadvantage of Amethyst Falls over Blue Moon are that 1) the panicles of flowers are smaller than Blue Moon, and 2) the flowers have no smell.

In fact, to a minority of people, the flowers smell like cat pee. I don't know why, but some plants smell like cat pee to some people but smell like nothing to most others. If you've never smelled a plant and thought "Yuck! Cat pee / ammonia / Windex smell!", then you're probably good.

If you're planting for fragrance, then 'Amethyst Falls' isn't the answer.

Let's see...central Michigan is going to be USDA zone 4 or 5 according to this: https://www.farmersknowbest.co...

Here are some fragrant vines hardy to zone 4:

And here are some fragrant vines hardy to zone 3:
https://garden.org/plants/sear...

And here are some hardy to zone 4:
https://garden.org/plants/sear...
[Last edited by JuniperAnn - Mar 7, 2021 1:34 PM (+)]
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