Wisteria - Bonsai? Please Advise

arlene212May 4, 2007

Hi, I have a small wisteria plant (pint size container) that I would like to create a bonsai out of. I have a bouganvillia that I shape like a bonsai, but it is five feet tall. I'm a little nervous and very unsure dealing with something so small, and delicate. Any information anyone could offer would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

Thank you


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Wisteria is basically a one-season bonsai, grown for its spring flowers. The rest of the year is spent pruning back the rampant growth that this plant produces. Shape it so you can enjoy the long racemes of blossoms, which can hang up to about 10" from the branch they come from.

You didn't mention what variety of Wisteria you have, but the standard 'Wisteria sinensis' is deciduous, so I don't know if it will do well in zone 10. I am not familiar with the other varieties of plants that are also called 'Wisteria', perhaps someone else here is.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Going to go backwards here - you know if you (and now is a good time) cut your bougie back all the way to just a couple of branches, you'll get a whole lot more smaller ones growing out and they'll be more in proportion to what should be a fatter trunk - more like a mature and interesting tree rather than just a house plant gone wild. Ok, the wisteria will take ~ 8 yrs to flower, so don't hold your breath anytime soon. The size is absolutely irrelevant, but health is, so give it just what it needs, which is of course to be outside - plant it in the ground for 2 yrs and watch it take off! Then when it's got some bulk on the trunk and more development (more options for styling), then you treat it like the bougie - chop it right back to only one 'trunk' and wait for new twiggy ones to form with smaller everything (though flowers will remain the same always, you can't shrink them). Let it get tall enough (at least 10-12") so that your eventual flowers will not look ridiculous, and give it lots of sun and water while you're waiting.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 3:32PM
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Hello Arlene, First of all choose a grafted seedling not one grown from seed as these take a long time to come into flower.Choose one that is not already too tall,mine was only 16ins high when I bought it around twelve years ago.As the roots and long stems grow prune them quite ruthlessly and keep the shape you want in mind. Water is very important and must be done regularly.Watch out for scale insects on the woody stem and trunk.
This is my wisteria macroborys. Some years are better than others for the amount of flowers.Because my plant was a grafted one it actually flowered the next year from purchase.
I hope you do well.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 3:26AM
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Hazel, that wisteria bonsai is beautiful.

I have a large, old wisteria in my yard, and I'd like to create a bonsai from it. Can I create a grafted seedling from it? If so, do you know how?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 4:00PM
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Have you considered air layering it? My wisteria forms roots just about anywhere wayward stems touch the ground. (Mine is trained on a deck to screen out my neighbor's house and enjoy the scent in spring, but sometimes it needs severe discipline! - it can grow about two feet a week in summer here in GA - we've nicknamed it 'Kudzu Jr'). With air-layering you would get a good 'potensai' in a short period of time.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 4:34PM
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Hello Witchdr. I am afraid I do not know how to graft and I think you would do best to buy a ready grafted plant for what it costs. Mine was from the local Malvern garden show. It was a Macrobotrys grafted onto a stump of I assume the ordinary sinensis for vigour. This means you by-pass all the years you have to wait for your plant to flower. My plant cost only £3.50 and I chose the one which seemed to have the character I wanted. It flowered the next year. As it leaned to one side I balanced it by tying down a branch on the opposite side but still retaining that nice leaning look. Perhaps someone with experience of grafting can tell you if you would be successful in using your own tree.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 2:06PM
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You can do what I did. Plant your Wisteria in a large regular pot and leave it alone. You can shape it so it doesn't grow in a vine. I purchased a white one 10 years ago staked in a 5 gal. can. Blooming. I trained it into a tree/bush and enjoyed its fabulous display every spring. The trunk got very large about 15 in. around. I cut it way back to about a 2ft. trunk and put it in a 22in by 16 in by 5 in deep ( I ordered it) Bonsai pot. It came back like gangbusters and I am constantly pinching back runners. I can hardly wait until next spring. I just recently chose the branches I want to keep for now and eliminated the rest. It keeps putting out new shoots right out of the large trunk so, yes it keeps you busy. Sorry, this picture is right side up in my file. Just turn your head :)

This post was edited by sprngrboy on Sat, Jul 5, 14 at 16:29

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 4:23PM
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As long as you realize you're 'talking' to someone in a 7 yr old post...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 5:14PM
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