The Meaning of The Wisteria Flower
Wisteria grows most commonly in vine form, producing lovely, fragrant flowers ranging in all shades of blue, lavender and red-violet. The flower holds prevalence in Japanese tradition and has multiple symbolic meanings.
Bred in China and Japan for more than 2000 years, wisteria arrived in the United States in the 1830s as an ornamental vine. This hardy plant can thrive as far north as New England.
Wisteria is a symbol of humility and reflection in Shin Buddhism. The Jodo Shinshu sect uses two intertwined, upside-down wisteria flowers as its crest.
In the 1820s, Kabuki drama Fuji Musume, “The Wisteria Maiden,” a young woman waits under a wisteria vine for her lover. In this context, the durable, long-living wisteria vine lends a meaning of endurance in the face of heartache.
According to the Victorian language of flowers, wisteria represents a warning against over-passionate love or obsession, a reference to the choking nature of the vine.
The wisteria vine grows voraciously and can become invasive, even destructive. The flower can symbolize creative expansion and spontaneity, though it also reminds us of what happens when we leave those qualities unchecked.
Long Does It Take For Wisteria To Flower?
Wisteria grows in full-sun to part-shade in moist, well-drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Generally, six hours of sunlight a day is needed for flowering. Prepare a 2- to 3-foot diameter planting site by digging a hole 18- to 24-inches deep. Measure soil pH with a soil test kit, following kit instructions. Incorporate horticultural lime into the soil to increase pH levels, or use sulfur to reduce pH. Replace one-third of the soil with well-composted manure, compost or peat moss. Mix the native soil and soil amendments thoroughly before refilling the hole. Started from seed, wisteria remains in a juvenile state for an extended period and can take up to 15 years to bloom. Wisteria is a legume and fixes its own nitrogen in the soil.
- BellaOnline: Fuji Musume - The Wisteria Maiden, A Famous Kabuki Dance
- Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual: Japanese Wisteria
- University of Illinois Extension: Wisteria
- The New Sunset Western Garden Book; Kathleen Norris Brenzel, ed.
- The Ohio State University Extension: Growing Wisteria
- University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science: pH for the Garden
- Michigan State University Department of Horticulture: A Few Tricks for Growing and Flowering Wisteria