How to Prune a Wisteria Vine


Wisteria, an ornamental member of the pea family, produce quick vertical coverage to trellises and fences. A perennial plant, wisteria produces white, pink or blue flowers along vines that reach up to 25 feet high. Proper pruning is vital, otherwise wisteria tends to become overgrown and unkempt looking. It can also overtake neighboring plants if left to sprawl. Wisteria benefits from twice yearly pruning, usually in summer and again in late winter when the vine is still dormant.

Step 1

Prune the side shoots from a single strong vine on each newly planted wisteria. Tie the remaining shoot to the trellis with a plant tie. Tie the main vine to the trellis, allowing new side shoots to form and twine themselves to the trellis crossbars, but prune side shoots that do not grow in near the crossbars.

Step 2

Trim off the ends of the side shoots on the crossbars of the trellis just beyond the seventh set of leaves. Cut off the new shoots that grow from these trimmed ends just above the first set of leaves that form on them. Continue to prune in this manner throughout the summer growing season.

Step 3

Cut back the upright shoots to half their previous height in late winter or early spring when the wisteria first begins to show new growth.

Step 4

Cut off suckers, which are new shoots that form at the base of the wisteria, in fall or late winter. Remove these at the soil level so they do not form any new shoots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune wisteria when the plant is completely dormant. This can cause permanent damage to the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Plant ties


  • Ohio State University Extension: Growing Wisteria
  • North Carolina State University Extension: Training/Pruning Vines
Keywords: pruning wisteria vines, trimming wisteria plants, ornamental vine care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.