Wisteria can be a tricky plant. It's beautiful, with its cascading lavender flowers and winding, creeping vines, but wisteria can also be a difficult plant to control. If you want to grow wisteria, learn about its characteristics and how to grow it without doing damage to your property. Here's what you need to know.
What are Wisteria's Characteristics
Wisteria is a fast-growing, hearty plant with far-reaching roots and long, strong vines. Depending on the type of wisteria, shoots may reach between 30 and 60 feet in length. Many homeowners are drawn to wisteria because they're enchanted by the way its blossoms daintily drape over surfaces during the growing season.
Wisteria is a climbing plant that can easily scale walls, trellises, fences, chimneys and basically any structure growing nearby. Once it's taken hold in an area, however, wisteria is difficult to remove and kill. Some types of wisteria are considered invasive in certain parts of the country.
Why Wisteria Can Be a Problem
Though beautiful, wisteria presents some serious challenges. Do not grow wisteria unless you're aware of these problems and have the resources to manage them.
Heavy, Fast Growing, and Aggressive
Wisteria vines are shockingly sturdy and heavy, and they grow very fast. Often, homeowners choose to grow wisteria around supporting structures like pergolas and fences, where these vines may form a beautiful decoration.
However, wisteria is so heavy that it has been known to crush its supporting structures. In fact, one wisteria plant in Sierra Madre, California, famously crushed a house in 1931, and today it is believed to be the world's largest blossoming plant.
Damaging to Sewers
This heavy plant requires strong, extensive roots in order to keep it anchored in the ground. Wisteria that is planted next to foundations and sewer lines can do costly damage by growing into pipes and cinder blocks.
Damaging to Other Plants
Wisteria will grow up the side of a tree, if it is allowed. Over time, wisteria can smother trees and other plants, until only the wisteria remains.
How to Control Wisteria
Follow these measures to control your wisteria plant.
Place It Wisely
Plant wisteria away from your home to prevent it from reaching your house and climbing to your roof -even at its fullest length. Different types of wisteria will grow to different lengths, so educate yourself before planting the wisteria. Keep it away from trees as well.
Give It Support
Choose a strong supporting structure that is unlikely to collapse under the weight of a very strong vine. Once the vine begins to grow, you'll be unable to properly waterproof the structure, so it's best to choose a wood that is naturally rot-resistant.
Be Prepared to Prune
Even when grown in isolation, wisteria will need to be pruned on a regular basis. Pruning helps keep the plant looking healthy and bushy rather than overgrown and scraggly.
Plant the Right Kind
Chinese and Japanese wisteria are both said to be more aggressive, more invasive, and more difficult to control. American wisteria is smaller, native to the continent, and easier to manage overall. Avoid Chinese and Japanese wisteria to make your job easier.
Work with a Professional
The best way to ensure that your wisteria will be grown responsibly and without damaging your property is to work with a landscaping professional. If you're interested in growing wisteria up a trellis, pergola, or a fence, contact your landscaping maintenance company to discuss care methods.
For more information about how you can grow wisteria on your property, contact SummerScape, LLC. We'll be happy to answer your questions about wisteria and other difficult to control plants.