Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: American Wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Wisteria (wis-TEER-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: frutescens (froo-TESS-enz) (Info)

Synonym:Wisteria frutescens var. macrostachya
Synonym:Wisteria macrostachya

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

28 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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11 positives
7 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral mythmorph On May 17, 2011, mythmorph from Waldoboro, ME wrote:

These comments re: Wisteria taking 5 years to bloom are somewhat reassuring! I planted mine ca. 4 years ago -- not a bloom or bud yet. However, not only is it growing vigorously here in Zone 5 Maine, but the "dying" Crabapple tree I wanted the Wisteria to climb up -- has completely revived! Now, that is truly a mystery. The Crabapple is leafed-out now, and blooms like a house afire, but the Wisteria just has lots of leaves and a nice sturdy trunk. Baffling. Any suggestions? (I have also planted Heuchera, Astilbe, and Violets around the Crabapple. Maybe it just needed some attention.)

Positive jisliss On Apr 27, 2011, jisliss from Chicago, IL wrote:

I have had an American Wisteria (at least that's what my local garden center said it was -- and it does seem to match all the descriptions I've read , with the caveat that some say it is scented and some say it's not. Mine definately IS) for about 7 years now that grows up and over a garden swing. It took it the full 5 years to bloom and that year (2009) it had a GREAT bloom (have posted a picture), but last year (2010)not so much. Just this spring (2011), I pruned out a lot of old growth (as I have done in years' previous), but wasn't at all sure what I was doing. There does not seem to be much information about pruning an American Wisteria. I have read to prune off the new vines that will come up in early summer (and quite vigorously too -- last year it sent out dozens of them) which I did NOT prune, but tied up on to the exisiting vine. Those now are the 'greenwood'. The previous years' growth is dry and brittle and, when cut, is brown inside with no indication that it could or will show new growth (?). I did feed it this spring as I had also read that that can revive the bloom (a food high in phosphorus). Also read about 'root cutting' (digging down into the soil and cutting the roots a few feet away from the trunk) to revive the bloom, but that was with the Orientals, so not sure that would work on this American variety. Any information on this vine, especially in the Chicago area, MUCH apprciated. I'm going to check with the Chicago Botanic Garden too. . .

Positive missfancy34667 On Nov 18, 2009, missfancy34667 from Hudson, FL wrote:

Wisteria is finiky. takes 5 years to blossom. requires a southwest sun exposure with nothing getting in its way. so make sure no trees or other things inhibits its sun, especcially in the beggining years. If you uproot it and re pot it or move it you can count on it not blooming again for another 5 years. It will take off on its on if conditions are met with the sun exposure and a place to climb. It will climb trees in forests and such as long as it has that sun exposure. it likes a nice rich soil. I have a sandy soil but I toss soil from my composted soil into mine every 3 mos. I dont fertilise it. my compost soil is sufficient and act similar to what it would get natually from leaves and other broken down matter, but I live on a farm, so my compost is composed of broken down maunures and leaves and coffee grounds and egg shells till it forms a rich soil. I dont just toss manure on anything. to rich in nitrogen.

Good luck in your wisteria growing. Its a slow process, but once it gets going, youll be happy. its something to grow with you for life, Its not a quick pleasure beauty.

Neutral AnnesCOgarden On Jun 22, 2009, AnnesCOgarden from Pueblo, CO wrote:

I was given a Wisteria starter plant for a housewarming gift 10 years ago. I live in Pueblo, CO which has a very mild winter climate and a very hot, dry, summer climate. The vine has grown wonderfully and I routinely prune it as it growns out of control, but with a lovely foliage. The location where it is planted receives full sun and mild shade in the late day. I have yet to ever have a blossom on the vine year after year and am so discouraged. I, unfortunatley, have no idea what type of Wisteria it is. I truly love the shade it provides on my front porch, behind the porch swing, as well as the lovely foliage, however I am frustrated that it won't bloom. Could anyone give me some advise on how to push the blooms???????????
All advice would be most welcomed!
A. Willis

Neutral panicum On Sep 7, 2008, panicum from Winston Salem, NC wrote:

Too many of the comments here are general to Wisteria, for the oriental species, not for American Wisteria, Wisteria frutescens. If you bought just a Wisteria, or see one somewhere, it is not this species. You have to try especially to have this one. In fourty years of landscape and gardening, I have seen exactly one, wild as a native beside a stream in NC. The horticultural ones, I have been fighting as rampant invasives for the same length of time. The comments about the bad/non-fragrance of the native and later blooming time were especially interesting to me, thank you.

Positive Opoetree On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

We planted a wisteria to climb over an arch...which it did -- beautifully! We had to temporarily remove the arch and pot the wisteria...I can't wait to 're-ground' it and be able to see the gorgeous blossoms again. My cousin had planted some in Shafter, California -- but they never bloomed for some reason. We have lots of wisteria plants here in the Ojai Valley.

Positive lee_ro On May 14, 2007, lee_ro from Raleigh, NC wrote:

(Raleigh, NC) I planted American wisteria last year in my front yard with the intention of training it to a weeping form, and so far it seems to be complying. The vines arch gracefully with lots of leaves and a few clusters of pretty purple flowers. I personally dislike the smell of the flowers- to me they smell like cat urine! I was afraid that it wouldn't bloom this year because we had some spring snow in April that killed off some new growth, but it has come back lusciously. Also, I have it in a spot in my garden with poor soil but it's doing quite well. I'm pretty impressed with my plant, though I think the Chinese wisteria is more aesthetically pleasing (and smells much better in bloom!).

Positive htop On May 13, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Ways to differientiate between Japanese wisteria, Chinese sisteria and American wisteria:

The Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) has large 12 to 18-inch clusters of flowers. The bloom cluster is elongated. It usually flowers as the leaves are developing. Its leaves have 13-19 leaflets and the vine twines clockwise around its supporting structures. The plant twines clockwise around its hosts. Its hairy, brown, narrow at the base seedpods are 10 to15 cm in length. They are constricted between the seeds.

The Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) flowers before the vine begins to leaf-out. Flowers are a bit smaller than those of the Japanese wisteria, ranging from 9 to 12 inches in length. This type tends to bloom at an earlier age and most blooms are open at the same time. The ones here in San Antonio have completed their blooming cycle. Its leaves 7-13 leaflets and the vine twines counter-clockwise around its supporting structures.

Wisteria frutescens is a native wisteria. It can be distinguished from W. floribunda in that it produces flowers from late May or early June. Its leaves are 10 to 30 cm long and have 9 to15 oblong leaflets that are each 2 to 6 cm long. Its about 6 inch long bloom racemes are not scented as are the other 2 types. It has brown seedpods that are 5 to 10 cm long and they are hairless.

Positive WUVIE On Mar 19, 2006, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

In my opinion, the American Wisteria is much better
behaved than the Chinese.

There is a gorgeous American Wisteria in the next
town which seems to almost maintain itself. The folks
who own the Wisteria shared seeds with me one year,
a rare treat considering it rarely blooms due to the lack
of pruning it gets.

A nice tree form with drooping branches. Beautiful!

Positive tajataja On Apr 11, 2005, tajataja from Hull,Ga, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought this plant and planted it by a fence in my side yard. Everyday it seems to grow inches at a time! This area, Lake City has them everywhere, and they are just the most wonderful display of blue flowers. Can't wait for mine to get big enough to flower!

Neutral nevadagdn On Mar 24, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have the cultivar 'Amethyst Falls'. I obtained it as a small plant, but it appears to be less aggressive than other Wisteria spp. It survived the winter in icky heavy clay.

Neutral bonniepaints On May 30, 2004, bonniepaints from East Wenatchee, WA wrote:

We have an overgrown "old" Wisteria we inherited with our old place. I appreciated some of the comments here. Ours seems to grow only one direction, which is what our sellers told us as well. Anyone heard of that??

I am hoping ours is not beyond redemption, cuz we love the flowers scent. I really hope to get it controlled around the archway so it doesn't look so much like an unruly teenager!

I don't really know what type it is, but we have seen flowers more than once after pruning its abundant growth back.

Positive sweezel On May 11, 2004, sweezel from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is the Native American Wisteria, which is much less commonly used in gardens in the US than Chinese and Japanese Wisteria. It blooms in late spring, early summer after leafing out, and will sometimes bloom sporadically throughout the summer. This is unlike W. floribunda and W. sinensis, which only bloom before leafing out in the spring. It is also less agressive than either two.

Neutral kevin72 On Apr 20, 2004, kevin72 from Milford, CT wrote:

Hello all,
I collected some wisteria seeds from Central Park, NYC. I have successfully sprouted a few in a cup of water, and I wonder if anyone knows of any special care I need to provide them. Put them right in the soil? Peat pot? I noticed that the ones I collected last autumn wouldn't sprout but the ones I collected in February did much better. Any help would be appreciated very much! Thanx!

Neutral gardenerdeb On Sep 5, 2003, gardenerdeb from Elba, NY wrote:

I recently bought a wisteria with four plants in one pot. I was told I could train it into a tree. I also have two seperately growing but would like to have more as they are so beautiful. The main trunk on both is about eight inches high but the vines are several feet long.

Positive Greenknee On Feb 15, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Wisteria is a very strong grower when established. Mature vines benefit from twice yearly pruning, in August and February, when you should cut back side shoots to a few flower buds.

In Washington DC (U.S.) huge vines can be seen gracing the front of the Smithsonian Buildings along Constitution Ave. Visitors to the Dumbarton Oaks in the springtime can see many mature vines in bloom; they have Chinese Wisteria (W. sinensis) Japanese Wisteria (W. floribunda) and several species and varieties.

Positive whitebear On Oct 20, 2002, whitebear from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Wisteria is a beautiful plant but it needs a good bit of training to manage it. In tropic/suptropic areas, it is often trained into tree form because it is easier to manage. It grows at a similar rate to Kudzu in these areas! Do not fertilize, or it will grow more foliage and fewer bloom. The scent of the blooms is as intoxicating as Gardenia, making it worth the effort to grow.

Positive TARogers5 On Sep 23, 2002, TARogers5 from Kingston, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have found the best way to get new plants is to take the runners and either bury a portion or place them in a pot. after about a month they will root and you can cut the feeder. This month I have 8 potted plants.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Elk Grove, California
Oak View, California
San Diego, California
San Leandro, California
Daytona Beach, Florida
Hudson, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Fayetteville, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Avon, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Dequincy, Louisiana
Evans, Louisiana
Lacombe, Louisiana
Port Huron, Michigan
Sparks, Nevada
Morristown, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ossining, New York
Raleigh, North Carolina
Rowland, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Dundee, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Sweet Home, Oregon
Pipersville, Pennsylvania
Watsontown, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Charlotte, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Cleburne, Texas
Elgin, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Santa Fe, Texas
Trinity, Texas
Beaverdam, Virginia

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