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Genus of twining, usually woody vines, of the pea family (Fabaceae), mostly native to Asia and North America but widely cultivated in other regions for their attractive growth habit and beautiful profuse flowers. The alternate leaves are pinnately compound (feather formed). The flowers, which grow in large, drooping clusters, are blue, purple, rose, or white. Wisteria is a genus of about ten species of woody climbing vines native to the eastern United States and the East Asian states of China, Korea, and Japan. Aquarists refer to the species Hygrophila difformis, in the genus Hygrophila, as Water Wisteria. Wisteria vines climb by twining their stems either clockwise or counter-clockwise round any available support. They can climb as high as 20 m above ground and spread out 10 m laterally.

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    6 Reviews
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      26.04.2011 20:39
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      A lovely plant with such a beautiful evocative name

      As I look out over my garden, I can't see the best plant of all and that is our lovely Wisteria which is in full bloom and looking its best. It also smells divine and I love to walk the garden path next to the house just to catch a noseful. Ahhhhhh!

      When we moved to our current newly converted barn almost 5 years ago, the boundaries were all very bare and the only plants we had were a tiny climbing rose and a very young Wisteria plant, planted against the south facing wall of the house.

      We set about the task of creating a garden with huge enthusiasm and concentrated our efforts on planting loads of climbing plants to cover the walls and fences which surround the property. The Wisteria we left as it was.

      It didn't flower the first year we were here but put on a lot of growth and in each of the seasons thereafter we have had lovely blooms - real picture postcard stuff. Sadly, the blooms don't last for more than a few short weeks but it's really worth it.

      When buying a Wisteria, you are well advised to consider what you want it to cover and whether you really have the room to let it flourish unfettered. Left to its own devices it can take over the whole wall. We have the space and have let it run free, apart from a gentle cutting back at the gutter level to keep it from growing under the gutter and into the roof space.

      Each year we have doves nesting in it and because it stays green until the late autumn, it gives them all the protection they need. In the mornings, all the little birds seem to play hide and seek throughout its dense growth - right outside our bedroom windows! More tweets than Twitter!

      Once your plant has become established, it needs little extra help. Apart from including it in our normal watering routine, it largely looks after itself and manages to send its water through hundreds and hundreds of feet of tendrils, which my wife has trained along the wall and along the ground and up the side of the gazebo and along the fence by the path. At the furthest point it is around 50 feet from the main stem of the plant. The main branches are now over an inch thick and although it has secured itself nicely to the wall, I have helped to direct it by passing stray shoots through strategically located heavy duty staples hammered into the wall. My wife likes to weave it as she doesn't like stray bits sticking out.

      Wisteria is relatively expensive if you buy it at a decent size. Smaller ones can be bought for around a tenner but will take longer to mature. It is possible to grow Wisteria from seed - you need to dry out the seed pods which form, which we have done this year for the first time. However, by far the easiest way to propagate these is by heeling in one of the shoots into the ground and a new plant will grow and can be separated from the main plant. Fuller instructions on how and when to do this can be found on the internet. There are now quite a number of varieties available but primarily in shades of purple/lilac/pink.

      If you are thinking about Wisteria as a means of covering a wall or fence then go for it, but you'd be well advised to take advice from a gardener as to the variety to choose which will thrive in your soil and your intended aspect.

      The only downside to Wisteria is the short-lived nature of the blooms. Once established it will last for years and years and it will be the envy of your neighbours/visitors at this time of year.

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        12.01.2011 12:29
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        Classic climbers for you house front

        Wisterias are beautiful climbing plants from the pea family, a relationship revealed most obviously in spring, when they produce abundant, falling clusters of distinctive sweet-pea-flower shaped blossoms, usually in some shade of lilac or purple. The pea-green leaves grow as a series of paired, rounded leaflets coming off a central leaf-rib. In spring the folded leaves as they emerge are delicately edged with silvery-grey down, and in autumn they turn bright yellow before being shed.

        There are two main varieties of wisteria, known as the Chinese and the Japanese wisteria respectively. They look very similar - I think the flower clusters in the Japanese variety are a bit more elongate and less flower-packed - but apparently the woody stems of the two varieties twine in different directions: clockwise for the Japanese wisteria and anti-clockwise for the Chinese type. There are also slight differences in growth tolerances between the two varieties. In general, t o grow well, these plants need good light levels and deep, fertile soil - they're forest plants, so are adapted to grow in rich soils with a lot of organic material from leaf-litter, etc.

        The plants have slender, twining stems that will wind round any nearby support, pulling the wisteria upright. You can also grow them 'through' large trees - as this mimics their natural growth habitat - as the stems will climb up the tree towards the light. Wisterias are most frequently trained up to grow against the outside wall of a house - giving spectacular results from the abundant foliage and flowers when the plants mature as they can easily 'cloak' the whole frontage of a building in leafy growth - and although the woody stems can get quite bulky and 'tree-trunk-like' as the wisteria ages - they initially need some kind of support, usually provided by a securely-fastened, robust trellis. Any trellis for a wisteria needs to be heavy-duty and well-secured as the plants grow large and can be very heavy. This said, wisterias can also be trained into self-supporting 'standard' shapes: this involves pruning most of a young plant's stems out to leave only one main 'branch' which is given support till it's thick enough to stand alone. There are any number of websites that will give detailed instructions for doing this yourself, as standard-trained wisterias, when available in garden centres tend to cost a packet.

        Once established, wisterias can grow large surprisingly quickly, and pruning back (usually this is done in autumn) is essential if the plants are to be kept in shape and more importantly, in check. Grown against a wall, for example, the new shoots can cause real problems if the grow up into the household guttering, etc.
        We have two wisterias, one of which has been the direct cause of a rift with one next-door neighbour, who objects to having a climbing plant grown against the wall of their house. This blank expanse of wall, however, is all you can see from the front window of our living room and I felt it really needed something to help camouflage it.

        The wisteria I got to enliven our view is a Japanese 'black dragon' variety, which we bought as a six-foot young plant for about £25. This is not cheap, but seems to be about the going rate for this type of climber, as they are very long-lived (and seem quite sought-after). This variety has - or will have, if and when it finally begins flowering - purple flowers growing in 'double' rosettes in spring, but it's only been in place two years and has to produce any blossoms. The leafy / stem part however is growing reasonably well trained over a garden seat / trellis arrangement - which is not secured to the wall due to the neighbour's objection to climbing plants. It can take wisterias some time to begin flowering as young plants, and apparently some people have trouble getting their recently-planted wisterias to flower at all, as some plants just seem to be 'reluctant' to produce blossoms. One solution to this is to look for a plant with flower buds already on when selecting your wisteria from the shop - but this isn't always possible, as of course often the young plants don't flower at all for the first few years anyway.

        Our second wisteria is a non-specified variety growing in a large pot - wisterias can be grown in containers as long as you prune them to keep them small - and was purchased as a foot-high specimen from 'Morrison's supermarket for £3 - so there's quite a bit of variation in price of these plants, depending on how big you want them, whether you want a 'fancy' type in particular, and whether you shop around or not. The Morrison's wisteria went into its pot the summer before last and has only grown about two feet high now, but seems to be quite healthy.  

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          10.02.2007 17:56
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          A beautiful climber

          What better, when you look out and see snow on the ground, than to think of Spring and the flowers that come with it.

          Wisteria has to be one of the most attractive of climbing plants and one that I wanted to grow from the time I first saw it. There are two main types of this plant – the Chinese: Wisteria Sinesis and the Japanese: Wisteria Floribunda – although there are also many others.

          Wisteria Sinesis, probably the most usual, is a deciduous climbing plant related to the pea family. This can be seen by the flowers which hang in long sprays – known as racemes – usually shades of blue or lilac and occasionally white. Although the plants may seem to be quite fragile when first planted, once established they can quite easily grow to 100 feet – with a gnarled and twisted stem more fitting of a tree of that size.

          Many people find that it takes a while to flower. In fact, some neighbours of mine got tired of waiting and took the plant out. I have two in my garden that both flower prolifically – sometimes more than once a year. Both plants (bought at different times) were no more than 45cm (eighteen inches) when I bought them and one now covers and screens a couple of sheds, the other has been trained over an arch and along the side of the house. This one also has clematis climbing with it – mixing dark blue flowers with the pale lilac of the wisteria.

          Wisteria is quite capable of supporting itself as it grows long tendrils which curl around anything in the way. I regularly have to cut it away from drainpipes so that they are not pulled away from the wall! In fact, these tendrils need to be cut back as this helps the plant to produce flower shoots. Not only that, they grow so quickly that they would quickly take over house, garden and anything that gets in the way! It’s best to cut them back to about six inches even though this may seem extreme.

          The flower sprays, which are about 20cm (eight inches) long, usually appear in May although sometimes more will form in late summer. The racemes of Wisteria Floribunda are longer: 30cm (twelve inches). Sometimes, if there is a late frost, the flowers will be damaged and droop but luckily this is not lasting damage although it can be disappointing at the time. The seeds, like all the pea family, are in long pods. New plants CAN be grown from these but they often take a very long time to flower when grown this way therefore the usual way to grow is from grafted plants. The seeds are harmful if eaten.

          The ideal place to plant wisteria is in a sunny but sheltered position. I have found that they need very little attention – apart from pruning and training to climb in the direction required. As they are a member of the pea family they manage to provide themselves with nitrogen from the atmosphere so need very little help with artificial plant food.

          I have to say that the tree that grows over the roof of the shed has always been a favourite shelter from the sun for my cats – but recently I found that there was also a fox making use of the same facilities. As this is only a short distance from the back door, I don’t know who was the most surprised when we came face to face!

          I hope that you will find this interesting and I thank you for reading.

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            25.04.2004 00:00
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            Wisteria is one of the most prettiest climbing plants you can put in your garden. They can be bought from your local garden centres for around £5.00 for a small plant, but I find that if your into looking at the bootsales then this is the time to go there and find whatever plants you might need to brighten up your garden at a reasonable price. Wisteria looks great if it is grown up walls, trestles, pagola?s and fences. There are lots of different varieties with a splendour of different colours to choose from, so really I think that there?s something for everyone?s taste when you choose this for your garden. Wisterias will grow in almost any soil and that?s what makes them so popular for the gareder, but the ideal soil for them has to be moist, rich with plenty of space for the roots to develope and grow. They will flower between May and June and you?ll be treated to a beautiful show of colour and loverly fragrance. If you buy your wisteria from a garden centre or bootsale then the best time for planting out the young pot grown wisteria is between October and March, make sure that you have put a support for the plant stems to get a hold of next to the plant. You can also buy the seeds and plant them under glass in March in little pots. When it gets to June you should be able to see the little shoots and these can be transfered n June to July into the nursery beds, untill they are big enough to be put where you are going to leave them permanently. Pruning the wisteria is quite simple, it?s best to do this in February and then you can cut back all growth to about two or three buds from the base of the previous years growth. You have to watch the birds for attacking these plants as they seem to like the flowers and the buds, so can ruin the years flowering show if your not careful, they may also be prone to aphids and red mites, so it?s best to keep a check
            on these garden pests. A spray can easily get rid of most garden pests, so that you can benefit from the plants fragrant blooms in the spring and summer months. I love the wisteria plants and some of the most prettiest varieties which I would recommend to you are:- Bristol Ruby, which has lovery little red fragrant flowers. Lyoth Gold is a really nice plant which has a beautiful orangey golden flower and brightens up any small garden or covers any unsightly wall. Then there is the Wisteria sinensis which has pretty little purple fragrant flowers, these are my favorite choices of wisteria if your thinking of adding them to your garden and with the summer coming upon us now is the time to plan and map out the new garden. Have fun x

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              28.05.2001 06:46
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              Wisterias are beautiful climbing plants with flower colours that range from white to deepest purple. They can be grown against a wall, house or other, or trained into a tree. if you opt to train into a tree you must make absolutely certain that the tree is mature and strong enough to take the weight of a wisteria in full sail. If you want a wisteria to grow up a building or wall you should make a support from horizontal galvanised steel wires and secure it at intervals with stout vine eyes which are screwed into the wall. Wisterias can live for up to 100 years and get extremely large and heavy so care should be taken in the choice of wall and position. They should ideally be planted in dappled shade or sun and they like a fertile, moist but well drained soil, they don't like sitting in water that is around their roots. The Chinese wisterias(sinensis) are very vigorous,and come in varieties like Alba, which is white and has flower racemes up to 10in. long or Sierra Madre, which is a violet colour and has the most wonderful fragrance, somewhat spicy and musky, and seems stronger in the sun. The Japanese wisterias are not quite as vigorous but can have flowers up to 20in. long and has shorter leaves than the Chinese ones. The variety Royal Purple is as it name suggests, a very dark, almost black purple. I have seen, in a nursery a variety called Macrobotrys, this has flowers 4ft. long, now thats what I call a big boy. I would love a wisteria in my garden but, unfortunately I just don't have the space, so I have to content myself with gazing "wistfully" at pictures in books, or plants growing in someone elses garden, but you never know, some day I just might.....

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                12.01.2001 02:50
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                This has to be one of the most beautiful climbers there is, as I am sure anyone who is remotely interested in gardening would tell you. What they might not tell you though is just how hardy this plant is. I have one growing over a garage and after being burgled one year I'm afraid I took the secateurs and choppers to it and hacked it back almost to the ground!!! Ah...h.h.. I can hear all plant lovers groaning, but they have no idea of the panic I was in then and I'm afraid the fear of future burglaries won against my love of the wisteria,at least at the time. I was in tears at the thought of what I was doing, but the detective involved in my case had been insistent that it was likely the burglar had hidden behind the trunk of the wisteria and crept up under it's very abundant branches. Within months however the Wisteria took off again and was even stronger than before. Additionally it flowered even more abundantly. Needless to say I was absolutely thrilled and once my fear of burglars had abated somewhat, I left it to its own devices and it now completely covers my garage once more. A word of warning to others who might like to give this plant a try. DO NOT plant it too near to a wall. I inherited my Wisteria and it is now approximately 30 years old. When new the main stem is slender and it is easy to forget that the trunk of this plant can grow to enormous proportions and can actually cause structural damage to properties. Mine is now the width of a fair sized tree and unfortunately it has completely cracked the garage wall against which it leans. Another point to be aware of is that new wisterias probably won't flower for some considerable time, so don't become disheartened if yours doesn't look like a neighbours immediately after planting it. In addition to flowering for quite a long season (abundantly in June then lesser so through to August/September) the Wisteria has beautiful lime
                green leaves which look wonderful in flower arrangements. It also has a delicious perfume. When picked the flowers tend to droop quickly and I haven't yet tried pouring hot water on the stems to see if that helps, but the leaves last for quite some time in clean cold water. Once the Wisteria has flowered it produces long shoots which have to be cut back if you want abundant flowering the next season, but as I've already said, it is possible to use the leaves in flower arrangements for many months after the flowering season finishes.. The leaves die off at the end of Autumn/beginning of Winter, but by April you will begin to see signs of growth again. I've been told the Wisteria likes to have its roots in the shade and its head in the sun,in much the same way as Clematis and certainly mine is growing in just such a location. Apparently it is no use trying to propagate this particular climber as it seems it will never flower. I would recommend therefore that you purchase this from a reputable nursery to ensure it has been propogated correctly. The initial outlay is quite expensive, but you will be recompensed for many years to come.

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