Wisteria - Wisteria sinensis

Let's call it Wisteria

It is one of the most well-known and widespread flowering vines in gardens throughout Europe, even if it comes from far away: in fact, Wisteria is a climbing shrub of Asian origin; the most widespread species is Wisteria sinensis, which as the name says is originally from China, from which it arrived in Europe during the 1800s; since then, in addition to having added some hybrids and cultivars to the European collections, the Chinese species has been reached by a couple of Japanese species: W. floribunda, which produces very long floral spikes, and W. brachybotrys, which produces huge flowers and large panicles instead. contained. There are some other species, always Asian, and a couple of North American species that are difficult to find in European nurseries.

A rain of flowers

Wisteria or Wisteria sinensis continues to be widespread in cultivation thanks to the rain of purple flowers that gives us at the beginning of spring, when the garden begins to awaken; in fact, white, pink, blue or deep purple flower varieties are now available on the market, for those who, in addition to flowers, also want a touch of originality.
Wisteria is a deciduous plant, which remains without leaves throughout the winter; at the beginning of spring, it produces numerous silver buds, which, while the foliage begins to appear, will turn into luxuriant spikes of intensely perfumed, slightly pendulous, very pleasant flowers. Flowering persists for at least a couple of weeks, and is often repeated in the summer, although less lush and rich.
To obtain larger and richer flower spikes it is advisable to shorten the younger branches in spring, leaving only 5-6 buds each.
The success of the wisteria is also due to the fact that they are cultivated with great ease; despite their delicate appearance it is in fact very vigorous shrubs, which bear both the summer heat and the winter frost.
Let us place them in the garden, in the open ground, possibly in a very sunny place; they can also withstand shade and adapt to any soil, although it is good to fertilize newly planted plants, at least for the first two or three years after planting, using granular slow release fertilizer at the end of winter. Adult plants, like many other plants, can enjoy the help of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which live among the roots of these plants, helping them to have nitrogen available for their development.
The adult specimens do not need watering, but it is advisable to watch over the wisterias recently found, which may need spring watering, in the case of drought, and summer. However, we avoid placing them in a place where the soil remains wet and impregnated with water for a long time.

A large creeper

Perhaps one of the limitations to the use of wisteria or wisteria sinensis is due to its vigor: this creeper tends to develop a lot, even in a single year; in addition to this it tends to incorporate the supports to which it is approached: a simple trellis can be completely enveloped by its branches during only 5-6 years.
It is in fact a climber, which develops very long branches, which tend to cling to pergolas, trellises, gazebos; if we want a blanket of flowers and bright leaves, wisteria is certainly the plant for us; if instead we have a small space and a plastic lattice, we will be forced to monitor the growth of our wisteria, shortening the branches immediately after flowering, and at least a couple of times during the summer.
The W. brachybotrys species is perhaps more suitable in this case, compared to the more common W. sinensis, in fact this species a little less widespread, tends to develop more contained, and generally does not exceed 4-5 meters in height.
If we don't have a wall, a pergola, a trellis, on which to let our wisteria develop, we can also let it grow without support; at the beginning it will have a creeping development, but over the years it will tend to form in indestructible roundish mound of branches, which in spring will seem an enormous bouquet of lilac flowers.

Propagate the wisteria

Surely those who have a wisteria in the garden will often immediately have requests from neighbors and relatives: give me a map?
In fact, those who have a large wisteria will also have plenty of seeds available in winter; remember however that if we planted a hybrid wisteria, not always from the seeds will we get a plant identical to the mother plant; moreover, not all the wisteria seeds sprout easily, and, a detail that can slow down further, it seems that seedlings can take many years to flower.
In fact most of the specimens available in the nursery are grafted, so as to obtain a flowering even from young plants, and flowers identical to those of the chosen plant.
Wisteria also propagate by layering, or by detaching one of the many basal suckers that the plant produces here and there at the base of the main stem.

Wisteria - Wisteria sinensis: Bonsai wisteria

Wisteria is one of the plants traditionally used in Japan to produce bonsai; it is certainly not a bonsai for beginners: the leaves are huge, made up of small leaflets; the panicles of flowers are also very large, often much larger than an entire bonsai of many years; and the plant is very, very, vigorous; it is therefore a bonsaist of a real challenge, which poses various problems and requires constant periodic care.