Wisteria Pruning

Helpful Hints for Pruning Wisteria

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of pruning wisteria plants. Their delicate, lacy appearance may lead you to believe that they are weak or vulnerable. In fact, the opposite is true. Given the right conditions, the wisteria grows prolifically. Your job will be to try and keep up.

A Little Bit About Wisteria

Wisteria is one of the most dramatic and stunning additions to your landscaping. With woody vines that quickly wrap and wind around any nearby structure, this plant has long been a favorite of gardeners. The flowers are cascading clusters of delicate lavender petals that hang from the plant like bunches of grapes.

Wisteria can grow a dozen feet in one season, and could easily overtake your entire house in a matter of years. This is why pruning wisteria is so important. Some people prefer to let wisteria run wild, but most like to take a more active role in how their wisteria grows. Pruning wisteria properly will not only allow you to guide the plant into a more beautiful shape, the flowers will be much more impressive and the plant will be healthier overall.

Sometimes the wisteria withholds her lovely blooms due to improper growing conditions - such as too much nitrogen, to which the wisteria is highly sensitive. Remember, also, that wisteria doesn’t put out flowers for the first several years of its life – it takes three years for a grafted specimen and seven for a seedling.

Where To Plant Wisteria

If you are placing a new wisteria, know that you must give it a structure to climb. If you don’t, it will seek and find the nearest one – like your house or garage -and rapidly entangle it with its creeping tendrils. Try using a trellis or an arbor. Secured lattice can work too, but you may have to tie the branches to the lattice with twine until they can hang on by themselves.

It can really be a lot of fun shaping and pruning wisteria. Most people enjoy the whimsical lopsidedness of the way a single plant creeps sideways across its supporting structure. However, if you prefer symmetry, you can place a wisteria at each end of an arbor or trellis and train them to grow toward each other for a more balanced look.

How To Prune Wisteria

It’s best to prune your wisteria twice a year: once in the summer, and again in the winter.

In summer, after the blooms are spent, cut the branches back to about six inches from the main plant. This will help to keep the blooms clustered more closely together and also closer to eye level for maximum effect in your garden. At this time, you can begin to shape the wisteria by removing parts that are growing out of form. Trim back any wandering vines that shoot out from the main plant. Also get any suckers that are coming out of the trunk to help divert the plant’s energy to the canopy.


Once winter comes and all of the foliage has died out, you can really get a good look at the plant’s shape and prune accordingly. You might find that much of what you cut at summer’s end has returned. Just trim it back to six inches again and allow only a handful of buds on each shoot. This will ensure that the blooms are large and impressive, because more energy will be concentrated on fewer blossoms.

Don’t be afraid to really trim your wisteria back and remove the long spindly growth. Everything you cut will come back pretty quickly – and the growth will be stronger and blooms prettier if you cut back often.

Wisteria is fun to grow and adds a huge visual impact to any property. With proper care, the wild and winding wisteria can be a perfect addition to your yard or garden. Pruning wisteria regularly doesn’t take a lot of effort, and you will be rewarded with beautiful blossoming displays year after year.