Wisteria Sinensis

Chinese Wisteria: Wisteria Sinensis

Although wisteria in flower are one of the most beautiful plants on earth, they can be problematic. Most common is failure to bloom. The answer is to never fertilize them, with one important exception.

Since they are legumes, members of the bean family, they produce thier own nitrogen. But it's phosphorus they crave, in the form of triple phosphate powder. For a mature plant, sprinkle 4 to 6 cups in a large area around the base of the plant. This is best done late February to early March and usually results in a tremendous bloom. Forget all the other bad advice about wisteria, such as root pruning. Wisteria crave water, and the more they get the faster they'll grow.

Chisese wisteria come in blue, white, purple or pink. They bloom on bare wood and don't leaf out until much later, creating a breathtaking display that can last two weeks or more. They grows in a clockwise direction.

Wisteria are big burly plants and can cover literally hundreds of square feet. The flowers are edible and considered a delicacy in Asia. Any structure on which they grow must be extremely strong. They also can be trained to a "standard" in which all side shoots are taken off every fall, leaving a central leader. When the leader reaches 8 to 10 feet in height, they are alllowed to branch out, in effect creating a wisteria tree.