How to Prune Wisteria


Wisteria is showy vine prevalent in the South that features 6-inch long pods of purple, pink or white flowers. Excellent for use on a trellis or pergola, wisteria will add color and interest to your garden. This very aggressive vine must be maintained to avoid having it take over your garden, so pruning is critical. This hardy vine is best pruned in the winter.

Pruning Wisteria

Step 1

Use hand-held pruning shears to cut back long streamers growing from the main branches in summer to prevent these streamers from getting tangled in the body of the vine. You may cut these streamers to six inches or remove them completely, depending on the shape you want your plant to take.

Step 2

Prune blooming plants during winter. Cut back side shoots completely or thin them out, as desired.

Step 3

Make winter cuts after the third flower buds from the base of the shoot or branch. The buds are usually a reddish color and are easy to spot. As they grow, they will come to resemble pea pods.

Step 4

Remove any unwanted or dead streamers that are leftover from summer. In winter, wisteria will lose its leaves and look like a mass of sticks. It is easiest to identify unwanted shoots or streamers at this time.

Tips and Warnings

  • In winter, ends of wisteria may be pointy and can scratch your skin, so wear long sleeves while trimming.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp, hand-held pruning shears
  • Wisteria
  • Gardening gloves
  • Protective goggles


  • Wisteria Pruning Guide
  • Sunset; National Garden Book; 1987
  • Plant Amnesty
Keywords: wisteria, cut back wisteria, prune wisteria

About this Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.