Caring for Wisteria

the queen of climbers?

The Wisteria earns its nickname of the 'queen of climbers' from its regal display of fragrant blue flowers. But Clematis is also known by this auspicious title. We think that both of these climbers deserve the flattering moniker of 'queen'. What do you think? Share your opinion on the Nolina Facebook page..

Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' is the perfect choice for your pergola, fence or arbour – or plant it in a large container on your patio. Wisteria will attract butterflies to your garden throughout its flowering period. This climber can also be trained into a free-standing tree: tie 'Amethyst Falls' to a sturdy pole and prune the top to encourage side shoots. For more ideas, take a look at our inspiration page.


Twice the enjoyment

Unlike other varieties, Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' produces a sumptuous floral display during its very first planting season. And another thing: you can enjoy this regal jewel twice – at the beginning of summer and during late summer. Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls' is a profusely flowering, scented and hardy climber that grows slowly and has a compact habit. Amethyst Falls loses its leaves in the autumn and returns every spring with its regal blue, delightfully fragrant flowers. Read about the best way to care for your 'Amethyst Falls' here.

Caring for Wisteria

Here are some tips on planting and caring for your Wisteria.

Planting | where, when and how

Wisteria can be planted directly in the soil or grown in a large pot on your patio. Plant it in a spot that receives at least six hours of sun a day. Choose the site carefully, since this plant will require more space year by year. The structure it grows up – whether it's a pergola, fence or arbour – will have to bear a heavy weight, so make sure it is sturdy. You can also let Wisteria grow over a wall or shed.

Wisteria grows best in soil that's rich in organic material. You don't necessarily need to feed Wisteria but if you want to apply fertiliser, choose one with a high phosphorus content as this will encourage flowering. Wisteria plants prefer moist soil. If you plant Wisteria in a container, it can be left outdoors, but to be on the safe side, cover the root ball for protection during severe frosts.

One way to get a Wisteria to produce more flowers is to train its lateral branches horizontally. This growth direction changes the plant's hormone balance, which then stimulates flowering.

Step-by-step plan

  1. Find a spot where 'Amethyst Falls' will get plenty of sun and has a sturdy support.
  2. Dig a hole at least 50 cm in diameter and 50 cm deep.
  3. Add a layer of good compost, possibly supplemented with a high-phosphorous fertiliser.
  4. Place the plant in the hole. making sure the root ball remains as intact as possible.
  5. Use the remaining compost to fill in around the root ball and carefully shake the Wisteria back and forth so that the plant settles and the compost comes into contact with all the roots. Then tamp down the soil firmly.
  6. Train the lateral branches horizontally against a sturdy support.
  7. Water 'Amethyst Falls' regularly, especially during the first month after planting, and make sure the root ball doesn't dry out.

Feeding and diseases

Although Wisteria doesn't actually need feeding (too much fertiliser will result in excessive leaf development and plant growth), you can encourage flowering by providing a little fertiliser with a high phosphorus content.

Fertilising once or twice a year is more than sufficient. The best kind of fertiliser to apply is rose fertiliser.

Wisterias are affected by very few pests and diseases. If its leaves turn yellow, this is often a sign of overly alkaline soil (the pH of the soil is too high). This can sometimes be remedied by adding humus-rich material to the soil to make it more acidic.

If you have specific questions, feel free to post them on our Facebook page. Our specialist will be glad to help you.

Pruning and flowering

Pruning encourages flowering! Wisteria needs pruning, both to retain its shape and to stimulate flowering. If it is not pruned, the plant will become too large and will flower less profusely as years go by.

The purpose of pruning is to create or retain one or more main stems with shorter ones branching off them. It's on these lateral stems that spurs will grow and produce flowers and leaves.

Prune twice a year

Wisteria needs to be pruned twice a year. Prune it once during the course of the summer, cutting back its long, dangling stems to 15 cm from the main stem. If you decide to create a new main stem, make sure you train it in the right direction. Removing or cutting back these lateral branches discourages the plant from putting on vegetative growth (foliage only) and helps it focus instead on its reproductive process: producing flowers again.

The second pruning should be done in March of the following year. Now cut the stems you pruned last summer back to two or three buds from the main stem. The newly created main stem can now be pruned back to 50 cm from its base. Be careful to leave any short spurs with round flower buds undisturbed.


Not flowering?

There are various reasons why a Wisteria won't flower at all or only puts on a poor show.

  1. Too little sunlight: Wisteria prefers full sun and needs at least six hours of sunlight a day.
  2. Not pruned properly: See the section on 'Pruning' above.
  3. Too much fertiliser: Applying too much fertiliser with a high nitrogen content will result in too much foliage, excess plant growth and fewer flowers. If you do feed your Wisteria, make sure that the fertiliser has a relatively high phosphorus content (this is the P level indicated in the NPK ratio). A good one to choose would be a fertiliser specifically for roses. Don't apply lime as this will turn the leaves yellow.

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