Does wisteria need something to climb on?

davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))March 2, 2011

I think of wisteria as tree, but today I noticed in the store it was called a vine according to the packaging of the plant. Come to think about it, I know the Chinese (common) name for wisteria is "purple vine."

I am interested in growing one in my house. Do I need to provide something for the plant to climb?

Thanks in advance!

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In your house?? Surely not :-) Wisteria would make a very poor houseplant.

Wisteria is a very large and rampantly growing vine. It can easily reach 60' and develop a trunk like a small tree. It climbs by winding its stems around a support and since it does get so big, it needs an equally big and very sturdy support. A mature wisteria can pull a 4x4 fence post out of the ground and bend metal pipes. I've seen the vine take down an entire wooden deck.

Wisteria can be trained into a tree-like form. But they will not remain like that unless careful and frequent attention is given to pruning and training. A wisteria tendril can grow upto 12" in a day and as much as 25' in a season.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

There are some pretty amazing bonsai'd wisteria trees out there. Is that what you mean by wanting to grow it in the house? If so, it would probably be a good idea to join a bonsai club....

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:40PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

Oh I mean growing it in the garden. Sorry I am a second-language speaker and when I think about "house" sometimes I think about the whole thing including lawn, backyard, etc. :-)

I did some more search and it sounds a little scary to grow. I don't know why I have in my mind the image of small trees (almost like a Japanese maple) with purple flowers.

Maybe I should pass and grow something else.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It is certainly possible to keep it a reasonable size and under control, but it takes dedication to pruning and control of root suckers. Far too many people neglect them and they run willd and don't flower well or at all. They are spectacular plants in bloom though. Waiting for/anticipating the wisteria to flower is a a key part of spring here. I'm already anxious for the snow to melt enough so I can get out to inspect the state of the trees this year.

I'm hoping that this year the young Japanese wisteria will flower for the first time and carry on the show after its older Chinese counterpart finishes blooming. It has lots of flowering wood showing now. It was planted in Aug. 2006. It took the Chinese one 5 years to put on its first spring show, so I'm hoping this is the magic year for the Japanese one.

DH with the Chinese wisteria last May:

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Propaganda Garden Design

They can be trained into small free standing trees. You can often find them for sale at nurseries growing this way.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 3:56PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

My experience with a wisteria trained to a standard (tree form, purchased that way) was that it was not willingly a tree. Upkeep and attention were substantial to preserve the form - when I lost it to a falling pine in a storm a few years ago I didn't replace it. But, am still finding wisteria sprouts several feet away from the original planting site when I thought I'd removed most if not all root.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 4:31PM
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sewcrazynurse(MI zone 5)

Do you think a wisteria would climb up the side of a Quanset building?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:58PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The stems of wisteria twine around a support rather than cling or grasp - they need some part of the structure in a form the growth can encircle.

Here is a link that might be useful: Example

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 7:28PM
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I remember planting a small wisteria start from a friend years ago. I planted it next to the old, rusty, TV antenna that was worthless, parts of it had even fallen off over the years. It was a shady, cool corner, which apparently the roots LOVED.
The next summer, it was halfway up the antenna and blooming outside the bathroom window which was WONDERFUL.
The NEXT summer, and beyond, it shot to the top of the antenna. 20-30 feet? Too high to prune, it bloomed more profusely every year. Did it look neat or ridiculous up there? Either way, it was certainly unique, and the trunk wrapped around the lower part of the antenna had become massive and like steel.
One decade and one strong wind storm later....THUMP.
The entire thing hit the ground. Just thankful no one was injured. I only wish I had photos. Consider this a warning.
I still find tons of seeds and seedlings every year.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 5:55PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I love it when other people grow wisteria.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 1:30AM
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I just found a great wisteria pic to compliment my above story. It'`s a big one!

Here is a link that might be useful: wisteria

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 8:14PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I've seen wisteria reach the top of trees that are much taller than the two story houses they are planted next to. I've seen it topple a metal patio cover over time and take down a wooden front porch and my friend's fence too. I know I'm not vigilant enough to ever try to grow it as a standard....

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:31PM
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There is a spot down the road where the tulip poplars are covered in wisteria. Absolutely gorgeous, a wall of huge trees with lavender flowers. But eventually, the wisteria will block the light and kill the poplars and they will come down.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 5:28AM
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My message is for lyvia or anyone who knows wisteria. I have a yellow poplar that's just over 20' tall and growing and I just bought a 3' wisteria plant/vine. After reading how wisteria climbs on houses and destroys spoutings/structures I am considering planting the wisteria at the foot of the poplar. Is this a good idea? We plan on moving in 10 years and I don't want it to kill the poplar before that... I can prune it until we move. Does anyone have a suggestion for where to plant it such as next to an arbor (if I build one away from the house) or would it make a nice stand alone bush?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Plant the wisteria and train it into a tree shape. It's really easy. My dad did this and he's in his 70s. People too lazy to prune things shouldn't have a garden in the first place.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Campanula UK Z8

All those scary wisteria stories usually involve the rampant Chinese wisteria, W.sinensis. The Japanese variety, not only has much longer racemes of flowers, it is also considerably better behaved - W.floribunda.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:20AM
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auron22(6b OH)

For the OP (if he is still reading his....),

A large space is necessary to accommodate the roots and prevent any damage to the homes foundation and any other structures. Wisteria roots can reach around 100' NEVER give the plant fertilizer with nitrogen. It will sacrifice bloom for very rapid growth, and it already grows fast. Wisteria can create their own nitrogen. To help promote flowering; Some suggest to prune the roots every year by taking a shovel and splitting the shallow roots near the base. Also, to give it a fertilizer of 0-20-20.

A nice, far less aggressive (considered not aggressive at all by some), and at times reblooming alternative is wisteria frutescens. Otherwise known as American wisteria. The blooms are not nearly as fragrant or showy, but can rebloom. In my opinion, I would keep the wisteria potted, and train it up a stake to give it a tree like form.

**Avoid sinensis (Chinese). These are the most aggressive and probably the ones that self sow the easiest. Floribunda (Japanese), as campanula said, is far better but the vines and roots are still aggressive, but not as bad.

Another little the fall you might hear loud pops if the wisteria is close to your house. These are seed pods blowing apart and spreading their seeds a far distance. It's kind of fun, but like me if you didn't know at fist....very scary. I'll link a vid.

I hope this helps :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Wisteria blowing up.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:35PM
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