Can I bonsai wisteria from seed?

penguu(8)May 5, 2010

Ever since seeing a gorgeous wisteria sinensis bonsai as a child, I've been wanting to do it. But it's been so long that I can't remember whether it was bonsai'ed from seed or a cutting...

Now, I *think* I would prefer to bonsai from seed, but is this advisable? I am fully prepared to bonsai for 20 years before I see a bloom, but I also hear that sinensis grown from seed may NEVER bloom, or that the blooms will not breed true (eg: blooms may not resemble the parent plant, or be so sparse that you feel you wasted 20 years tending it). What do people do with the long taproot of a wisteria bonsai?

Also, I bought some seeds that were sold as sinensis online...but when they arrived...they were frutescens! *upset and only slowly recovering*

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head_cutter

Hmmm, if you got upset 'and only slowly recovering' because you were sent the wrong seeds Bonsai may drive you to suicide !! Better be careful there.

Most of the beautiful wisteria you see were worked back from a larger/older plant. It is true that they won't always grow true from seed or even from cuttings (basal or root) for that matter. Most cuttings will flower however, the color is a crap-shoot sometimes but, you will get flowers. You cut the tap root off.

Bob

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 8:33PM
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penguu(8)

I got upset because I felt like I was had.

About the taproot, it seems wisteria trees/vines is labeled "may not survive transplant" because people damage the taproot. Am I to understand as long as you have enough fibrous roots before cutting the taproot, you can just treat it as any other transplanting?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 3:36AM
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jack_r(9)

Wisteria have weak roots but that being said you still have to remove the tap root for bonsai culture. They take a standard bonsai mix but need lots of water. Most people set the pot in a shallow basin of water during the heat of summer. They don't like frost and need protection. I would not try to get a bonsai from seed. They take too long to reach blooming age. Good luck, Jack

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 2:27AM
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larke

It's interesting that you say they don't like "frost", because if you saw the winters they go through here in Canada (or northern US) you'd be surprised at how much more than just frost they can take.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 4:25AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

My wisteria handle cold pretty well...

Josh

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:44PM
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jack_r(9)

Which species are you talking about? There are several species and varieties within each species. My Chinese wisteria (Wisterie sinensis) was a bonsai so lived in a pot. Two winters ago we had several nights in the teens, the coldest was 11 F. The roots froze and the tree went into decline and died. If it had been in the ground it probably would have been fine. I expect that you Canadians have yours in the ground also. If I get another wisteria it will winter in the greenhouse on cold nights.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 1:13AM
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larke

Well, that's the difference (pot vs ground). It's not about a different type of tree, it's about the lack of root protection in a little pot vs the ground. Up here little pots get put into much larger ones full of mulch and then into unheated sheds, etc. when it gets cold. Anything would die if just left in a pot no matter how cold hardy it was.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 5:47AM
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