Any wisteria experts out there?

(14 Posts)

Or anyone who can advise me on how to get my wisteria to flower? We inherited a very old and large wisteria on the front of our house. We've been here for almost 5 years and every year I try to prune it according to internet advice but as yet it has not really flowered properly (unless you count 8 flowers per year). I know it can flower because I've seen a picture of it (annoyingly a few months before we bought the house) but I have no luck sad

From what I've read, it needs pruning in summer (July/August) and again in winter (Feb), and the pruning the previous year is what helps it flower the following year. However, I never water it or feed it, for fear of it engulfing the house (it's pretty rampant as it is). I wonder if I should do that too. And if so when is the best time of year to feed, and what to feed it with?

In the summer, I try to cut back all the long whippy bits to about 5 leaf shots - that seems fairly straight forward if not rather time consuming. But I always find masses of short bits that only have about 1-2 leaf shots coming off them and I don't know if I should touch them or not.

Failing that, does anyone know of any gardeners that can come show what to do? I'm in the South East (will PM with more exact details if necessary).

Pretty please, I feel like a failed gardener until I get it to flower confused

jalopy Thu 14-Jul-11 16:34:55

I'm not an expert but I do have wisteria in my garden.

When we first moved in we a massive amount of flowers. I pruned it quite drastically and it didn't like it at all. It took 3 or 4 years to recover.

I now prune the unwanted trailing bits after it has flowered. I do seem to remember reading that it doesn't like a harsh prune, despite what the books say.

I'd say leave for a year or two without a prune and see what happens.

Thanks, guess there's no harm in leaving it as I've had little luck doing something.

MrsJohnDeere Thu 14-Jul-11 18:15:13

Mine is about 50 years old, I believe, and flowers well each year. I trim off the whippy bits in the summer but don't do any other pruning until all the leaves have fallen off (usually early Dec). I also make a point of not pruning it if a frost is forecast. IMHO, pruning in Feb is a bit late and that's why you don't get flowers.

<awaits endless posts from people who do prune in Feb.....>

MrsJohnDeere Thu 14-Jul-11 18:16:18

Don't feed or water mine either

TuttiFrutti Thu 14-Jul-11 21:09:10

I prune mine in January and July, because that's the RHS's advice. We usually get good flowers but this summer hasn't been as good - not sure if it was the harsh winter that did it? I don't think you should ever water or feed a mature wisteria - you would get masses of lush green leaves and very few flowers.

Thanks for the advice. I have decided to do a whippy bit prune once it's stopped raining, probably sometime in September next week
I'll probably post again in the winter for the pruning strategy for then, but what do you do differently then compared to the summer - esp MrsJohnDeere and TuttiFrutti?

There's a good video of Alan Titchmarsh showing how to prune wisteria at both times of year. Sorry iPad is refusing to let me copy a link but can find by googling.

Dazmum Thu 21-Jul-11 17:25:00

They are a bit temperamental, I've got two, both planted at the same time by previous owners, one flowers every year (not so good this year) and the other one had two flowers year before last, which to my delight were pink, and nothing since angry

Milliways Sun 24-Jul-11 21:16:10

We have a HUGE wisteria, grows around (and through!) a shed, and apart from snipping bits that are straying too far down the fence / garden/path, we leave it alone and it drips with flowers twice every year smile

I do have an annual battle with the virginia creeper that grows through the wisteria, and clear that out as much as possible every year though.

The trunk of ours has grown in a circle and you can sit on it! smile

VirgoGrr Wed 27-Jul-11 21:04:32

I'm with MrsJohnDeere, I think February is a bit late for your winter prune.
It will be coming out of its dormant period by then and if the buds are forming - you'll be snipping them off, thus, no flowers.

VirgoGrr Wed 27-Jul-11 21:09:02

IIRC, winter prune should be a bit harder than summer, because its to stimulate new growth rather than to keep in order. Prune to 2-3 buds on side shoots in winter, making flowering 'spurs'.

Just in case anyone else has been reading this thread. I switched on Gardener's world last week just in time for the Wisteria advice grin, from RHS Wisley no less.

Anyway, the advice was to just to cut back any whippy bits during the summer. You can do it 2-3 times if necessary - that I didn't know. Also, if you do feed it, use a high potash feed for flowers, anything with nitrogen will just encourage leaf growth.
Apparently winter pruning can be done in February, but MrsDeere's and VirgoGrr's logic makes more sense to me.

Just wanted to share that with you.
I tell you one day I will have a wisteria dripping with flowers like Milliways <not envy at all!>

Milliways Thu 04-Aug-11 22:35:43

Thank you smile

My garden is full of things that survive on neglect and an occasional prune/hack. (Think I put a pic of the wisteria on my profile a year or 2 back - goes to check profile....)

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