Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Wisteria sinensis

Common Name
Chinese wisteria
CA Native
Non-native
Plant Type
Vine
Size
12' - 25'
Flower Color
Lavender, Violet, White, Blue
Bloom Time
  • Spring
Leaves
Light Green
Evergreen
Deciduous
Deer Resistant
Occasionally Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Bees
Growth Rate
Fast
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Fragrance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Moderate
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Good Drainage
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Chinese Wisteria has large drooping racems of very fragrant, lavender to white flowers which open all at once in the spring before the foliage develops. This tough, woody vine is a rapid grower when given sufficient water. It climbs best on wires, trellises, pergolas, and arbors. If allowed it will climb into trees seeking light which they need to flower.

Dig a hole that is 18" - 24" deep and 2' - 3' wide. Plant slightly above soil grade in an amended soil that has been mixed with lots of compost. Mulch soil after planting in a 2' - 3' radius of the plant trunk. Water well after planting. New plants will require an inch of water a week to encourage new growth. Established plants should be watered only when foliage begins to wilt. Young plants should be fertilized annually in the early spring until the plant has filled the allotted space. Plant requires no further fertilization unless the shoots and foliage growth is poor. It may take 2- 3 years before the plant starts to blossom and if there is insufficient sunlight, too much nitrogen fertilzer or if it is pruned incorrectly, it may not bloom at all. Some annual pruning is recommended and will encourage blossoming but check a wisteria pruning guide before you start to prune.  Wisteria do not transplant well.

Wisteria have no significant diseases or pests. Leaves and flowers are munched on by deer.

 

Master Gardener Comments
Varietals

W. sinensis 'Texas White' - white flowers

W. sinensis 'Blue Sapphire' - soft violet-blue flowers, bronze new growth

W. sinensis 'Prolific' - lavender blue flowers, extremely prolific, repeat blooms

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