WISTERIA

These hardy, deciduous, woody-stemmed climbers are among the most attractive climbers. They are vigorous, with spectacular flowers in late spring and early summer. A large wisteria takes time to grow.

Suitable site and soil. Most soils that are relatively fertile and that retain moisture will do. The plants must be planted in a sunny position and in cold areas do best against a south-facing wall where there is some shelter.

Cultivation and care. Plant out in autumn or winter. These climbers need support and in late winter prune back hard to two or three buds on each shoot.

Propagation. The most convenient method is to take heel cuttings in late summer. W. sinensis can be layered.

Recommended varieties. W. sinensis is a truly superb climbing plant that can grow up to 30m – 100ft high. It produces profuse hanging clusters of small, fragrant, mauve flowers in late spring and these look superb against the background of its bright green leaves. The variety W.s. ‘Alba’ has white flowers. Another excellent climber is the shorter W. Jloribunda which climbs to 9m – 30ft. The variety W.f ‘Multyuga’ (this is usually sold as ‘Macrobotrys’) has 90cm – 3ft long hanging clusters of purple-blue fragrant flowers. W. venusta is about the same size and has attractive clusters of fragrant white flowers with a yellow mark.

Pests and diseases. Watch out for aphids and for fungal diseases that cause leaf spot.

SUPPORT FOR A CLIMBER

A large wisteria is a heavy plant and needs proper support both to get it established and to hold it in place. Make sure that fixings into masonry are sturdy and check them every year.

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