Wisteria: A Bloom Above the Rest

by Peter B.


Wisteria is a genus of plants that stirs feelings of both love and hate among those that know it. The detractors see an invasive plant that grows rapidly, spreads its seeds and seems to never leave once planted. Fans of the genus love its fragrant pendulous racemes loaded with bloom each spring.

The common varieties include W. floribunda or Japanese Wisteria and W. sinensis or Chinese Wisteria.  Both vigorous vines quickly reach up to 30’ or more and need a strong support system. Careful siting is important to insure their success in the landscape.

Recently popular are the native wisteria W. frutescens and W.  macrostachya (Kentucky Wisteria).  The straight species and its cultivars can reach heights of more than 30’ with 4-6” pendulous racemes. Kentucky Wisteria is a less rampant grower to about 15’ in height. ‘Aunt Dee’ and ‘Blue Moon’ are popular varieties with 7-12” long flowers.  These flower May through June on new growth.

‘Amethyst Falls’ is a W. Frutescens hybrid that we use for a quick growing vine. It is best used in a sunny area that is consistently moist. We have a large wisteria at the nursery that has climbed to 25’ in 10 years.