Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria)

Scientific Name

Wisteria sinensis (Sims) Sweet

Common Names

Chinese Wisteria, Chinese Kidney Bean

Synonyms

Glycine sinensis (basionym), Millettia chinensis, Rehsonia sinensis, Wistaria sinensis, Wisteria chinensis, Wisteria praecox

Scientific Classification

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

Flower

Color: Lavender to purple
Bloom Time: Spring

Description

Wisteria sinensis is a woody, deciduous, perennial climbing vine. It can grow up to 100 feet (30 m) long over supporting trees by counterclockwise-twining stems. The leaves are shiny, green, pinnately compound, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, with 9 to 13 oblong leaflets that are each up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long. The flowers are lavender to purple, produced on up to 8 inches (20 cm) racemes before the leaves emerge in spring. The flowers on each raceme open simultaneously before the foliage has expanded, and have a distinctive fragrance similar to that of grapes. The fruit is a flattened, brown, velvety, bean-like pod, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long with thick, disk-like seeds, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter spaced evenly inside.

Wisteria sinensis - Chinese Wisteria
Photo via tasselsandtwigs.blogspot.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 5a to 10a from −20 °F (−28.9 °C) to 35 °F (+1.7 °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 a lawn 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, fertile soil that is somewhat moist but will tolerate many soil conditions.

Once planted, pruning is about 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 variety (Wisteria floribunda) is the opposite, twining clockwise. See more at: How to Grow and Care for Wisteria.

Origin

Native to China in the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, and Yunnan.

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