Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Why does my Wisteria not flower?

WHY doesn't my Wisteria flower? is the lament of gardeners everywhere in mid summer. Having spent a considerable sum on a decent specimen and waited patiently all spring for racemes of colour and fragrance, lots of us are being disappointed.

So the foliage itself is graceful enough, yes but that's not why you bought it. Correct pruning is the solution! Wisteria needs to be pruned in late summer and in winter. The aim is to produce lots of fresh side shoots in spring from which flowers develop.

The first winter after planting, cutback side branches by one third, and on newer shoots, aim to cut back to 2/3 buds. Prune the leading stem to 2/3 feet above topmost sidebranches.

This encourages flowering sidegrowth. For the next few winters, prune back the leading stem and sideshoots as above until your framework is established.

Once you've done all this and you have a reasonable sized shrub, in late summer cut back all excessively long side shoots to 6 inches of the main branches. In winter cut back these same side shoots to 3-4 inches, to 2/3 buds. That's it!

Feeding with Tomato food or better still, a longer lasting feed with Sulphate of Potash will help Wisteria flower too.

Don't forget Wisteria can cause severe discomfort if ingested. Of course, planting in full sun is essential for Wisteria. There is a fair amount of work and even more patience involved in growing this most graceful of climbers, but the rewards are more than worth your efforts. Just remember that once every seven years they take a flowering 'holiday'.

It can take three or four years to get the flowering going' a long term investment plant that will last for generations.

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