When to plant wisteria
Wisteria needs a bit of winter cold weather to properly bloom, so you'll usually see flowers start to pop up in spring as the weather warms up. Given this, it's best to plant wisteria between October and April, so it has time to take advantage of the chill factor!
Types of wisteria
There are two main types of wisteria we see in Australia. These are Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda). Chinese wisteria tends to be grown in warmer temperate areas and produces blue blooms. Japanese wisteria prefers cooler regions and loves frost! It comes in an array of colours including pink, purple and white, and produces more flowers than its Chinese counterpart. Some of them even have double flowers, a variety referred to as 'Double Japanese' or 'Black Dragon'.
How to grow wisteria
Choose a sunny spot and, if possible, choose a space that is protected from the wind. This will mean the gorgeous purple blooms aren't blown away in any strong gusts come spring.
Wisteria likes soil that drains well, but otherwise is fairly unfussy. It may struggle in clay or sandy spots, and you should avoid anywhere that is likely to get water-logged.
Given that wisteria can grow like a weed, it's best not to enrich the soil with composts or manures unless it is really necessary (i.e. if it's lacking nutrients or excessively sandy). Instead, you should turn the soil over and add some slow-release fertiliser. Dig your hole twice as wide as the root ball and form a "donut" of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone as you backfill. This will help to guide water where it's needed most. Wisteria loves to climb, so planting it near a pergola or a fence or wall with added support (wire framing) is great. If you are using wire framing, leave 10cm between the wire and the wall to allow for growth. You can also plant wisteria in a pot, just ensure it is a minimum of 600mm wide.
Wisteria should be watered regularly, though established plants tend not to need supplementary watering.
You should aim to feed your wisteria annually with a controlled-release fertiliser.
Because wisteria can get quickly and easily out of hand, it's important to prune your plant. You can prune whenever needed to help train the plant. In spring, you can prune and train new shoots.
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