A high-climbing vine, wisteria blooms vigorously in spring with large, drooping clusters of lilac or bluish-purple flowers. Here’s how to plant, grow, and care for wisteria in your garden!
Wisteria is a vining plant with cascades of colorful flowers that look spectacular hanging from a pergola or archway in spring. However, the vine is a fast and aggressive grower—often reaching 25 to 30 feet long—and is known to grow quite heavy. Wisteria will work their way into any crook or cranny their vines can reach, so it’s not advised to plant them too near to your home.
Wisteria flowers are beautifully fragrant, providing a feast for the senses. After flowering, a brown, bean-like pod stays on the plant until winter. Blooms only appear on new wood.
Is Wisteria Invasive?
Two species of wisteria that are occasionally grown in home gardens are considered invasive species in North America: Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) and Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria). The wisteria native to North America is Wisteria frutescens, or American wisteria. If you’re planning on adding a new wisteria to your garden, we strongly suggest you avoid the Asian invasive wisteria species and plant the native one instead.
How do you tell the difference? The Asian species are aggressive growers with fuzzy seed pods, while the American wisteria is not an aggressive grower and has smooth seed pods and fruits, as well as more-or-less cylindrical, bean-shaped seeds. The native wisteria’s flowers appear after the plant has leafed out in the spring, whereas the Asian species’ blooms appear before their foliage.