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How to Prune Wisteria

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

To prune wisteria, trim back any lanky side branches, as only the main sprig will survive the winter. Cut back wisteria, leaving a bit of new growth, with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.


Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment, we're going to talk about how to prune Wisteria. Now Wisteria is kind of a bush that grows almost like a vine. And so, it will grow for many, many years and become huge. So you want to plant it and grow it somewhere where it's not near the house. You never want to grow it up to the eaves of your house, or onto a fence, because eventually it will eat away your house or eat away your fence, and you'll have nothing left. It can do major damage. And, the first year you'll just have a little vine. And when you start that vine, you can either let it grow as to one big vine which eventually will be a big branch, or you can have a few small vines and you can braid it or you can have a few starts. And you can leave a few large stems, it's up to you. Whatever you want to do. But the most important part is that you have a main branch, and that you set it up against to a fence or any kind of line where it's not eating into the wood. Because I see so many houses with Wisteria right onto them, and I worry, because over the years that Wisteria is going to eat away that house and do thousands of dollars worth of damage. So when you're pruning your Wisteria, you want to keep in mind that that main branch is what is going to survive over the winter, and that is what is going to trail for the future years. So any lanky side shoots, you trim them all off. And, you can leave a few or braid them into the main branch, but in the end, that main branch is what matters. And you don't want to cut them down all the way to the wood. Because if you cut to the wood, than it won't get new growth. So where ever there's new growth, and you have a long vine, leave a little bit of new growth, but cut it out. So that the next year it will grow much fuller, and you'll have lots of flowers right around the main branch. If you leave it lanky, you won't get as many blooms. It will just be really lanky. But by trimming back all those stems, all the way down the vine, you will find that the next year you'll have lots of Wisteria flowers, right up against to the main trunk, and it will be so beautiful, and it will be a showcase in your garden.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.