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How to Care for a Wisteria Vine

By Willow Sidhe ; Updated September 21, 2017

Wisteria is an ornamental flowering vine that can reach up to 65 feet in length. It can often become invasive if not properly controlled, but many gardeners feel it is worth the extra work for the beautiful, fragrant flower clusters the vine produces in spring. There are two types of wisteria vine–Chinese and Japanese. Chinese wisteria twines around its support in a counterclockwise direction, while Japanese wisteria grows clockwise. Both types have the same care requirements. Wisteria is an easy plant to maintain in the home garden as long as steps are taken to control its rampant growth.

Plant wisteria in a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Spread a 2-inch layer of manure over the planting site, and use a garden tiller to incorporate it into the soil to a depth of about 4 inches.

Provide a support structure for a wisteria vine to climb. Plant near a fence, wall, trellis or large stone to prevent it from climbing a tree, which it can damage and potentially destroy. Train the vine to climb the support object by manually moving the vines onto the structure.

Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding the wisteria vine to increase moisture retention and suppress weeds. Allow 3 inches of space between the mulch and the base of the vine to provide adequate air circulation.

Water wisteria daily for the first month after planting. Reduce frequency to once per week after the initial month. Do not splash water onto the foliage during applications, as moist leaves are more susceptible to diseases.

Feed wisteria one month after planting using a balanced 6-6-6 NPK fertilizer. Fertilize once during March, May and September during the first two years of growth. Reduce to once per year in May after the second year of growth. Read the manufacturer's directions for dosage instructions.

Prune wisteria vines twice per year, once in mid-summer and again in early spring before new growth begins. Cut back any horizontal vines by half their length during summer to prevent the plant from growing rampant. Remove buds during the spring pruning until only five or six remain per shoot, and prune away any suckers that form on the base of the vine.


Things You Will Need

  • Manure
  • Garden tiller
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Use a light organic mulch, such as chopped leaves, grass clippings or pine needles for mulching wisteria vines.
  • Plant wisteria vine near a dead tree for support if no other structure is available, but always avoid planting too near living trees.


  • Never consume any portion of a wisteria plant, as some varieties can be toxic.

About the Author


Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.