There’s not too much to do in the garden at this time of the year – except tidy up and review the seed catalogues. However, there is something you can be doing – and that is giving a final prune to your wisteria. Not much can beat a wall or pergola covered in wisteria – a stunning display dripping with beautifully scented flowers in late spring and early summer is a sight to behold. But sadly, many people are afraid that they are difficult to care for. In fact, they only need to be pruned twice a year – in July / August when they send out long wisteria shoots and again in January /February when the plant is dormant.
Wisteria will quickly cover a large area, but do resist the temptation to cut it back with shears or cut it to the ground if it is getting out of hand! If you prune your wisteria too severely you risk losing all the flowers and it will be several years before it flowers again! – and if you prune it too little the flowers will be small and will be swamped with leafy growth at the expense of the flowers.
In January/February cut back the growth to within two or three buds from the base. These will bear the coming season’s flowers. It also ensures that the flowers are not hidden amongst the abundant foliage.
When you are pruning, you can easily tell the difference between a growth and a flower bud as the growth buds are narrow and pointed, and flower buds are fatter and rounded.
If you are going to treat yourself to a wisteria, do make sure that you buy one when it is in flower. Wisterias grown from seed can take up to 20 years to flower and the only real way to tell a good one is to buy it when it is in flower!! Buy one that has been grown from cuttings or by grafting. You can easily spot a grafted plant if you can see a bulge near the base of the stem.
Grow it in a sunny position (it will tolerate slight shade), make sure you feed it in the spring, don’t let it dry out in summer when the new buds are forming and you will be well rewarded.
There are three main types of wisteria with flowers in either white, blue, lilac or pink. Wisteria sinensis flowers before the leaves appear; Wisteria floribunda flowers at the same time as the leaves appear and has stems that twine clockwise and Wisteria ‘Multijuga’ has very long flowers up to 1.2m long. When the flowers have gone you are left with pretty leaves and twining stems in winter.
A wall positively dripping with Wistera blooms.
A lovely plant with lots of interest all year round.
Maureen Lock Designer Gardens