Wisteria frutescens (American Wisteria)

Scientific Name

Wisteria frutescens (L.) Poir.

Common Names

American Wisteria, Texas Wisteria, Kentucky Wisteria

Synonyms

Glycine frutescens, Bradlea macrostachya, Kraunhia frutescens, Kraunhia macrostachya, Kraunhia macrostachys, Wisteria macrostachya

Scientific Classification

Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Millettieae
Genus: Wisteria

Flower

Color: Blue-purple
Bloom Time: Late spring to early summer

Description

Wisteria frutescens is a woody deciduous perennial climbing vine that grows up to 50 feet (15 m) long over many supports via strong clockwise-twining stems. It produces dense clusters of blue-purple, two-lipped, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide flowers on up to 6 inches (15 cm) long racemes in late spring to early summer. These are the smallest racemes produced by any Wisteria. The foliage consists of shiny, dark-green, pinnately compound and up to 12 inches (30 cm) long leaves. The leaves bear 9 to 15 oblong leaflets, each up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long.

Wisteria frutescens - American Wisteria
Photo via havlis.cz

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 6a to 9b: from −10 °F (−23.3 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The most important factor to consider when growing Wisteria is location. Wisteria is a twining vine that requires sturdy support and regular pruning to keep it under control. Open areas surrounded by lawns that can be easily mowed are ideal for growing Wisteria.

Wisteria doesn't fair well in the cold, so make sure it receives plenty of sunlight. This vine requires deep, rich soil that is somewhat moist but will tolerate many soil conditions.

Once planted, pruning is the only important requirement for Wisteria vine care. Since this vine is an aggressive grower, there's no need for fertilizing, and being drought tolerant, Wisteria requires little watering.

While Wisteria is great for covering an arbor or pergola, training Wisteria vines makes it easier to control. Keep in mind, however, when training Wisteria vines, the variety may exhibit different twining characteristics. For example, Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) twines counterclockwise while the Japanese type (Wisteria floribunda) is the opposite, twining clockwise. See more at: How to Grow and Care for Wisteria.

Origin

Native to the wet forests and stream banks of the southeastern United States, with a range stretching from the states of Virginia to Texas and extending southeast through Florida, also north to Iowa, Michigan, and New York.

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