Wisteria Management (It’s growing here, there and everywhere)


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Life In Mind, Breathing Trees

Wisteria center stage
Wisteria center stage

Before I talk about this amazing plant and all the possibilities it can bring let me take a sidebar for a moment and talk about the here and now. It is February 4, 2011 and I live in Commack, NY on Long Island. I have been advertising throughout the entire winter for prospective clients. My goal has been to expose Long Islanders to my website, the place you have found yourself right now.

Consumers both old and new are continually overwhelmed and bombarded by flash, speed, beauty and language, that moves extremely fast, and what you need becomes what the marketing world has conditioned you to want. It is called imprinting. This type of advertisement is clearly demonstrated by my 14 year old daughter. Every time she sees some type of VW (automobile) she taps me, she used to lightly punch me until it became unacceptable behavior. She has come to discover how I despise her behavior and what the marketing specialists have successfully accomplished. My mission is to remind everyone that words and flash are easy while demonstration and consistency are hard.

Demand a demonstration. As consumers, we are at risk (buyer beware). If you ask the questions, your demonstrating a need to know and possibly a want to pay. Every service that you can imagine has opportunity to demonstrate it’s ability to serve. Our responsibility is to challenge these services on as many levels as possible, before we decide who to trust with our lives; with our money. Clean, clear and straightforward. If you demand this from those who may work for you, you have a greater opportunity  of  being satisfied, both throughout the process and with the final results. The only expectation you need to anticipate with this screening system is the possibility of there being higher costs of doing business (demonstrations take time & effort).

Alright, enough consumer education.


Dalia pictures in bright colors
Dalia pictures in bright colors

Wisterias can most definitely be our friends.

Dahlia Flower picture
Dahlia Flower picture

Wisteria Chinese
Wisteria chinese, controlled in the garden

In todays garden and nursery world there are a number of Wisterias to choose from depending on your landscaping needs. So the question remains, which one to choose? Why a particular variety will work and then…what do I do to help the plant develop, based on our design expectations. Maintenance and Management realities.

Wisteria floribunda (japanese wisteria)
Wisteria floribunda (japanese wisteria)

Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) – has large 12 to 18-inch clusters of flowers. It usually flowers as the leaves are developing. The fragrant flower clusters come in violet-blue, white, pink and several in between shades. It flowers in May and June.

Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) – it flowers before the vine begins to leaf-out. Flowers are a bit smaller, ranging from 9 to 12 inches in length. Most have a mild sweet fragance. The white and violet-blue varieties are the most popular. This type tends to bloom at an earlier age and most open at the same time creating quite a flowering display in May.


Pruning, if needed, and in most cases in and around other gardens it is, is done in winter when plants are dormant (December, January and February) and throughout the summer and fall (growing season prune) in June/July and again in September/October. The growing season prune should be done, to help control the outrageous growth of the vines. The dormant season pruning (winter prune) is the severe pruning, when one should cut the leader vines back to the desired height/length. Following this first pruning decision, prune the side shoots (those growing from the main leaders) back to the second or third dormant bud. There are different opinions on how far to actually prune back the plant at this time of the year. This is where experience and good judgment needs to be used. Flower buds form on the stems the previous summer, and if you prune too severely you will be cutting off many of the potential flower buds. With experience you will be able to identify the swelling flower buds and how they differ from regular growth buds.

Pruning Recap

  • Summer pruning. This is done at any time during the growing season. Cut back any wandering stems by about one-third. New shoots will develop and the plant will look fuller overall.
  • Winter pruning. At this time cut back any shoots to within a few inches of the main stems leaving maybe 3 to 5 buds in place. Again this is where experience and good judgment needs to be used. Cut away any damaged wood to allow better air circulation and also remove any suckers from around the base of the main stem.

Wisteria has been called an invasive vine in many areas due to how aggressive it can be and how powerful the vines become as they wrap around other living things (not only living things). There has been some very interesting developments in the hybridization of these vines over the past few years. Some of these varieties need to be noted. Even though certain varieties are noted, Wisteria has to be maintained so as to benefit the landscape as a part of the whole. Garden management needs to be a part of the design process and only then will the true value of any landscape architects design demonstrate lasting value. Through developmental pruning and continued maintenance of all plants installed into a landscape, will the value of any home with it’s gardens continue to grow.

Pictures of trees in nature
Pictures of trees in nature

I dedicate this article to all those who are unafraid to impact the world around them


to those who understand the  value of taming the beast in our man/woman made world.

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