PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Wisteria

Of the two varieties we have, the standard purplish blue (Wisteria sinensis) and a lesser seen one called ‘Pink Ice’ which is also known as Hon-beni’ (Wisteria floribunda). ‘Pink Ice’ is the one our new staff member/watchdog is excited about (trust us, despite how it looks, he’s VERY excited). This one grows the same as the standard purple one but maybe a teensy bit less aggressively. The blooms are simply stunning in two-toned abalone pink with soft lighter pink and a golden yellow splash in the center.

Any Wisteria will quickly cover a structure. Be very thoughtful and deliberate about what you give it to grow on – it needs to be fairly large and very sturdy. An ordinary cedar fence will not hold up for long. A pergola or large arbor is best. This is not only to support the growth, but these structures are best able to show off the masses of flower clusters that dangle from the vines. We’ve seen very old Wisterias that have grown into Douglas Firs. We don’t know how the Fir felt about it, but it was glorious in bloom.

Another cool thing you can do with Wisteria is train it into a tree form. Starting with a plant that is already at least 3 years old (ours are about 4 years old) with main stems that are 1/2 to 1 inch diameter. Train 1, 2, or 3 of these along a stake and keep any lower shoots from growing below the ‘canopy’ on top. This requires pruning a few times during the growing season with a final shaping in late November or December.