How to Winterize Wisteria

Wisteria in bloom. image by Roman Köhler, Wikimedia Commons


Visit any arboretum or outdoor garden in the spring and you just might see a gorgeous arbor covered with medium-green leaves and lilac colored flowers. Vines trail over the arbor and down the wooden sides. This hardy vine is called wisteria and it gives off a stunning fragrance when in bloom. Wisteria plants need to be kept healthy year round in order to survive through the winter. Proper year-round care of a wisteria will encourage healthy expansion of the plant and abundant blooms.

Step 1

Winterize wisteria by simply leaving the plant alone at the end of the growing season. Perform proper care for the plant during its growing season by providing high-phosphate fertilizer and rich organic soil. Wisteria prefers full sun and a supportive trellis or arbor for climbing vines.

Step 2

Make sure the planting area soil has good drainage. Soggy soil will stunt the growth of the plant and limit blooms. Since wisteria vines don't transplant readily once established, choose your initial planting site wisely based on the light and moisture requirements. Any transplanting should be done in the spring.

Step 3

Apply fertilizer after the first frost to encourage the health of the plant throughout the winter.

Step 4

Prune back leader (main) vines to control the overall growth of the plant during the coldest winter months from November through February. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle to limit the amount of wounded area on the vine. Remember that next year's flowers grow on the current year's wood so prune carefully. Long vines should be clipped back to the nearest joint with a major vine. Major pruning can also involve cutting vines near the trunk to control growth.

Step 5

Prune individual branches (shoot) carefully to promote flowering the following season. Shoot pruning involves clipping back to the nearest second or third bud. Don't remove too many buds or you'll limit the number of flowers in the next season.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer high in phosphate


  • Hume Seeds
  • Purdue University Extension
  • Washington State University
Keywords: wisteria, winterizing wisteria, wisteria care

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: Roman Köhler, Wikimedia Commons