Saturday, 12 April 2008

Looking for wistera flowers

All eyes in the garden, at the moment, are on my camera Nestbox to see if the blue tit will complete her nest. She is making seriously hard work of it and I will report on her progress soon.

Looking to the plants in the garden, at the moment, many gardeners will be keeping an eye on the buds of their wisterias. I was out yesterday having a look at mine. The waiting game for these flowers is as exciting as the eggs hatching in the nestbox :-)



The photo above shows how my wisteria is looking at the moment. But in other parts of the UK this growth will be ahead or behind this. I gave the stems of my wisteria a second pruning back to two sets of buds at the end of February but I do remember Alan Titchmarsh, in an article in Gardeners' World Magazine, saying that you can still do this as late as April here in the UK. However in December you can see that the frosty stems on my wisteria shown below had been pruned back to approx four sets of buds. I give my wisteria two prunings.


Sorry, here’s me keeping an online diary and I didn’t write down when I did this! Oops. I would take a guess that I did this early November. Although again going back to Alan Titchmarsh’s advice he suggested just one pruning in April would do. However, I do think there is a wide range of advice for successful flowering of the wisteria and I am sure it keeps changing too. It should be noted that during the summer months the long whippy growth still needs to be pruned out which I am sure all advice would give.


We just have to take a look back now to June 7th 2007 to see the rewarding flowers this plant gives. I have had my wisteria perhaps as long as 10 years now and last year it flowered its socks off. I was thrilled! You can see I was not the only one that enjoyed these flowers. What did I do? Well, I will be honest and say I was brutal with my pruning earlier in the year as I felt if it couldn’t reward me with flowers it could reward my with a nice shape on my pergola.

Oh… and again per Alan’s advice I also kept my plant watered well prior to and during flowering. I also gave it a high potash feed – but I have to confess I didn’t do it regularly. We have had plenty of rain recently so I don't plan to water it just now unless we get a dry spell. I will however start feeding it now as I am sure that will help the quality of the flowers. Too years ago I had a few very weedy looking flowers so I am guessing the watering and feeding really did make a difference to last years flowers.


So, this is all very well and good saying what I have done now when you could be looking at your plant, like I did a few years ago, wondering if the growth you are seeing is going to unfurl into a leaf (so disappointing when this happens) or into a bud that will give flowers. The photos above were taken from my wisteria last year before it flowered. I hope it will help anyone searching for photos of what a wisteria bud looks like and the stages leading up to a flower.

Finally, this year I will make sure my wisteria doesn't get too dry and I will try to remember to feed it regularly. I don't tend to spoil my plants but I cannot deny feeding them does help the growth and qualitity of flowers. So if you are reading this with a wisteria in your garden I wish you a wealth of wisteria flowers this year. This is an exciting plant to have in the garden and I hope you enjoy yours. However, even after following the same method as last year I will still wait with the same anticipation as I did last year waiting for the first flowers to open.

All photos shown above were taken in my garden.

11 comments:

garden girl said...

Wisteria is so beautiful! I've never tried growing it. I guess I'm a little afraid of its size! It's moot where I live now anyway, since we have so much shade I doubt I'd get much bloom. I also like wisteria in tree form. If I had enough sun, I just might try that!

Jane said...

Hi Shirl Do you grow your wisteria up the side of the house? We have one that appeared from nowhere when we bought the house. I guess it had always been there, but disguised by weeds. The last two years it has climbed up the drain pipe. I've never cut it back... no idea what to do. It's about 15 ft high now, but doesn't flower much (as on a shady side of house) Any tips? Jane

Nancy J. Bond said...

Wisteria is so beautiful! I love the clusters of flowers trained over an arbor.

Cheryl said...

When I moved to the farmhouse the whips of a wisteria were lying on the shingle drive. It had never been pruned and looked a mess. My husband put three arches up and it now lives there quite happily. I prune mine exactly the same way that you do. I must own up and say I have never fed it, and up until now it flowers well.

Mine is lilac wisteria....love the white, I love white flowers of any kind. Nice post.

shirl said...

Hi there garden girl, Jane, Nancy and Cheryl :-)

garden girl – I agree it is quite a sight to see when all the flowers are in full bloom. I can understand your worry about size but I have to say my white one is growing over my pergola which is approx 8ft high and it has not spread to 4ft wide. Also it doesn’t get full sun so perhaps that means it doesn’t get quite so vigorous in growth. It does look great in foliage too. I sometimes give a plant a try even when the conditions aren’t perfect :-D

Jane – No, my wisteria is growing up one side of my pergola and growing over the top a little. This is the second wisteria I have grown and the first one had purple flowers. I never saw any flowers on it but after we left that house the next owner neglected it and eventually, I understand, it was brutally pruned - then it produced flowers! I am always nervous of plants clinging to house walls but if I was to discover one 15ft high I would be very tempted to cut it back. I would look at the main stem structure of the plant. Then I would prune back to two sets of buds on every branch from the main stem/s. I would do this now. If I knew it had never flowered anyway I would see this as a risk I’d be willing to take. I would also have the opportunity in improving the shape of the plant at the same time perhaps taking whole stems out. But hey, I am ruthless with a pairs of secateurs in my hands!! I would also perhaps supply it a support to keep it off my drain pipe too. A piece of trellis would do and I would be tempted to use spacers to keep it out from my wall a little. Hope this helps :-D

Nancy – It is, it really is. Mine is growing at one end of my pergola and as I walk through and past it I smell its beautifully scented flowers :-D

Cheryl – As you have said the whippy stems can really be very long and can spill out into the surrounding area. I keep mine cut back so I can walk through my pergola and the paths around it. The previous year I had only a few, very pathetic looking, flowers so I am assuming that the feed helped. To be honest I do believe that making sure it doesn’t dry out must be the biggest factor. But then again growing up house walls it cannot get much moisture there. I love my white scented wisteria and last year it was great to see it with bees on it. Thank-you, this post is perhaps a bit overdue :-D

SA said...

Shirl, I love wisteria mine has started to flower, it is early this year but I live on the south coast of England. I hard prune mine to keep it within a restricted area using your pruning schedule of twice a year. Wisteria's can be kept quite small - I have seen them grown as a standard over a frame 'umbrella'. These were a feature of the garden and must have been 20-30 years old or more!
Sylvia (England)

shirl said...

Hi there Sylvia, great to hear your wisteria is in flower :-D

Yes, I suppose you can get horror stories about many plants getting too big but most can be controlled with pruning as you say. I have had my wisteria around ten years and it isn’t remotely misbehaving itself :-D

Although I do remember a gardener once saying, with reference to coppicing plants (in particular eucalyptus), that just because you control what’s above ground the plant is still capable of growing to x height so it will produce roots to support this.

Wisteria grown as a standard must look almost like a large bonsai. I bet it looks fantastic :-D

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your white wisteria is gorgeous no wonder you want to baby it a little. It would be worth it to have big lovely blooms.

Anonymous said...

my garden faces north east my wisteria is on the sunnier side i guess facing east/south and has been here for at least 15 years originally planted by specialist.
It has never flowered for last 13 and as it takes over the fence I tried to get rid of it but it never works.
Its a good screen but as it never flowers useless for me.
Any ideas?
Have cut and dug it out but still it comes back - think it must have suckkers everywhere? Any poss of flowers or controlling it.
thanks all

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa & Anonymous :-)

Lisa – sorry I missed this comment. Yes, these flowers really are well worth any trouble! Have a great week :-D

Anonymous – I can completely understand your plight! If your plant was mine I would be cutting out the long new whippy growth now. I would look at the shape of your plant in early November and take charge of it rather than let it do its own thing – but I guess you have tried that. I would only keep good strong looking stems. I would prune again harder in February to two pairs of buds from the main stems. During early May I would look out for signs of flower buds – they will be near the main stems. If I see buds then (after jumping up and down for a while with a huge smile on my face) I would give it a feed when the buds are forming and make sure it doesn’t dry out. Then – I’d keep my fingers crossed. If you are in England your buds will grow earlier than mine by approx two weeks. I wish you luck and please do let me know if this works for you too. Wishing you a great week and wisteria flowers next year :-D

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me if wisteria is a suitable plant for a northeast coastal location?I am about to move there and need to find plants which are suited to the cold and windy climate.thankyou.Margaret