How to Plant and Care for Wisteria

What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Garden gloves

The wisteria is a favorite climbing vine. It is soil tolerant and disease resistant, and grows quickly. As long as you provide the wisteria with a suitably nutrient-rich soil, you should not have any problems growing one. Here are 5 simple steps to help you grow wisteria successfully, and a warning for parents of small children concerning the seeds of the plant.

Step 1: Condition the Soil

Wisteria requires a lot of nitrogen. The good news is that most organic matter is high in nitrogen, so you can easily condition the soil with compost. Mix in ΒΌ cup of cotton seed meal to provide a longer balanced release of nutrients, and the soil is ready for planting. Additional compost can be added to the soil after planting by covering the ground immediately under and wisteria, and allowing the nutrients to leach into the ground.

Step 2: How to Plant

To plant wisteria, dig a hole that is 2 feet wide by 2 feet long and 2 feet deep. Fill the hole with conditioned soil, and then dig a new hole in the mix large enough for the root system of the wisteria. Plant the roots so that the roots are positioned 2 to 3 inches below the level of the soil. Water the wisteria well, and make sure that it stays moist for the first week, allowing the roots to acclimate to the new soil.

Step 3: When to Plant

The wisteria flowers in early spring, usually just after the last hard frost of the winter season. Planting should be done before blooming begins, and the plant can be protected from any late freezes by covering it with a sheet and placing a low wattage light under the frost cover.

Step 4: Where to Plant

A wisteria plant prefers full sun, but it will also do fairly well in partial shade. Make sure that it receives at least 4 hours of sunlight a day, and that soil is rich and moist. Remember that wisteria is a climbing vine, and plant it so that there is ample opportunity for the plant to climb. A trellis is acceptable, but may not be strong enough after a few years growth. A better idea is to allow the wisteria to climb a pergola, which is generally constructed out of larger, stronger lumber.

Step 5: Wisteria Care Instructions

To trim back a wisteria, early winter pruning is the usual method. Clip branches just above a leaf node. Choose a few primary leaders and prune other vines back so that those favored vines can receive a majority of the plant's nutrients.

A Note Concerning Wisteria and Children

Wisteria seeds are poisonous. While eating wisteria seeds probably wouldn't do more than cause nausea in an adult, as little as two seeds can be deadly to children. If you are going to grow wisteria, make sure that small children are not allowed to put the leaves or flowers in their mouths.