Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: American Wisteria
Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls'

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

Synonym:Wisteria macrostachya

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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 Summer


Other details:
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:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From leaf cuttings
By grafting
By simple layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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10 positives
2 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sladeofsky On Jan 18, 2015, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Much hardier than listed here. The species grows into zone 4, but since this selection was made in South Carolina, it may possibly be less hardy. Most rate it to zone 5. If you live in zone 4 and grow it, please share your experiences.

Positive Rickwebb On Jan 17, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is the most common cultivar of the American Wisteria planted in the Philadelphia, PA, area, occassionally found planted here and there. It grows in USDA Zones 5a to 9b and does not get the frost damage that the earlier blooming Asian species can get in the North. It is reliable in the Chicago, IL area. It grows only about 1/2 to 1/3 as fast as the rampant growing Chinese-Japanese species. It blooms at a young age, often only a year after planting, and it blooms in late spring and then reblooms later in summer. It is not as flashy and sweet smelling in bloom as the Asian species. It blooms on new wood and is best pruned in late winter for big-time pruning to shape and remove any dead or bad growth. Prune lightly again after the first bloom to encourage branching and the second bloom.

Negative betsybrock On May 20, 2013, betsybrock from Cedarville, OH wrote:

Well, mine stinks! I'm curious if anyone has an idea about what could be added to the soil to improve the smell. More alkaline or acidity? Anything? I truly smells like cat urine and I can't even open the windows or the whole house smells like that. It's beautiful so I'd love to keep it but the smell needs to go! Thanks for any advise!

Positive upallnightagain On May 28, 2012, upallnightagain from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

No stinky smell here! I ordered this as a tiny 4" pot from Springhill I think, and trained it as a tree that first year (yes it grew THAT much in one season!) It's in a very sunny spot and does occasionally try to test it's boundaries, so I hack on it as needed, but it never stutters. I prune hard in fall so I only have to look at the main trunk and a handfull of thick branches over the winter and it springs to life when the weather breaks. It's a winner for me!

Neutral Coach_2 On Jan 23, 2011, Coach_2 from Troy, VA wrote:

We planted the Wisteria in the spring and did very well. Fast growing and bloomed well! I dont know if anyone else has had this happen, but this plant attracts alot of bees and ants. Almost to the point you can not go near it. It was covered with all of them and different types. Also , do i need to clip the plant down? or does that depend on how big i want this to get? And when do you clip?

Positive Feather10 On Jul 21, 2010, Feather10 from Debary, FL wrote:

I first saw this beautiful plant growing wild in Millen, Georgia. I noticed that some of the homes in the area had them in their front yards and were training them as trees. I had to have one. I forged into the woods on the side of the road and dug and dug until I found a good root. Took it home and babied it for a few years. When it was established I planted it in shade thinking that is what it needed.Wrong. It is now climbing a tree reaching for the sun. I think I will leave it there. It is doing well and producing blooms. Reading the forums I have found that I might have a chance to propagate another by laying one of the branches in soil until it grows roots. I just tried it and can't wait to see if it takes in the potted soil. I would like to have one and train it into tree form. Never noticed the lack of aroma as it is so pretty to look at.

Negative russty On May 26, 2010, russty from Hinsdale, IL wrote:

bought a tree version of this wisteria last fall, & gave it a prime location.i was thrilled to see it totally covered,with maybe a hundred buds-beats the other 4-5 yr olds around here that have never bloomed.have been looking forward to seeing it in full glory,but now they are slowly beginning to open & some vicious blight has caused almost all the flowers to fall.i can't see anything obvious that could have caused this- & havn't found any info anywhere.any insights would be greatly appreciated.can't attest to if they stink or not-they were ruined before i could find that out- but i hope not!!

Positive bungalow1056 On Apr 15, 2010, bungalow1056 from Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love this Wisteria. It is so much more mannerly than some of its Asian counterparts. The fragrance is lighter and muskier than the Asian varieties and the blooms are more compact. I find the blooms prettier than the Asian varieties and like the fact that it is a native plant. I can enjoy the scent of the Asian types when strolling past the monsters that have escaped, growing wild by roadsides here in central NC. I find the American variety much more suited to garden planting and I especially like that it won't pull my porch down!

Negative echinaceamaniac On Dec 29, 2009, echinaceamaniac from (Clint) Medina, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have to agree with the comment about the flowers stinking. I was in Lowes and I smelled something really bad. I walked over and found it was this plant that was stinking up the place.

Positive coo13549 On Jul 2, 2009, coo13549 from Batavia, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Mine blooms early in Spring with masses of flowers. I have two on an arbor and they are going so strong I'm worried about the arbor. I think the secret is to do NOTHING for them--I planted in clay soil, I don't give them any fertilizer, and they get too much water in Spring (rained 7" just last week) and have survived two bad late summer droughts. I just relented and gave the nearby clematis some compost, hope that's not a problem. The Wisteria flowers have a light scent, unnoticeable unless you stick your nose in them and then light and nice.

Positive linjasar On Jun 3, 2009, linjasar from Upper Saint Clair, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love this wisteria! The first winter bunnies ate it down to 6 inches. First summer, it grew to 6 feet on a fence where it overwintered taking cold winds -- not protected at all. I changed up my bed to blueberries and I had to move the wisteria. I decided to try to turn it into a tree. There was one main stalk that I kept and cut off everything else. I also cut of every leaf/branch 5 feet high and left leaf buds on only 5 to 6 inches on the main branch. I assumed no flowers this year. I was wrong! There are 6 buds on that 5 inches of main stem. They are opening now. I will post a pic when they are in full bloom. It looks so funny now, like a tiny lollypop. My area is a very cold zone 5a -- I think it gets below that. We had a very hard winter and almost every spring shrub did not bloom, but this wiseria made it with flying colors! This is a super plus for us cold zone 5a areas.

Neutral lee_ro On Dec 16, 2007, lee_ro from Raleigh, NC wrote:

I bought a nice size Amethyst Falls last year and planted it in my front yard, opting for the American variety over the rampant, prolific Asian wisteria. It was blooming when I bought it, and continued to bloom throughout spring and there was even a small second flush of blooms in summer. It flowers are much less beautiful than the Chinese variety of wisteria, and to my dismay they do, indeed, smell like a male cat marked its territory on the shrub.

Nonetheless, I trained it almost into a weeping shape which looks quite lovely and pruned throughout summer to keep it tamed. Unfortunately, I didn't take into consideration that it would lose its leaves come fall and leave a bare skeleton of a plant (and the thick stakes for support) in my front yard. It looked pretty bad all winter, an eyesore, and then in spring it started coming back again.

Unfortunately, a late freeze killed a lot of the growth back, but it produced a few blooms for me and left nice foliage into the summer. Right now it's about 6 feet high.

Since it has lost all of its leaves again for the year, its bare branches out front have begun looking pretty sorry, and I decided to dig it out and try growing it in a huge pot. Digging it out was a challenge-- its roots have gone deep into the ground, and I don't think I got them all. I bought a 24 gallon pot and have the plant in its new potted home out in the back of my house. It already looks quite handsome in its pot. I wonder if I will get any success-- has anyone else tried growing American wisteria in a pot?

Positive RRRupert123 On May 15, 2006, RRRupert123 from Solon, IA wrote:

I just bought an amethyst falls and it says zone 5a one it or
-20 to -10 degrees fahrenheit. My friend succesfully got it to come back in tact (no dead branches) and says it has atleast 8 blooms on it right now. I bought one because it was the only wisteria i have found blooming in the store. They also said there have been cases of a 1 year old seedling flowering. So that shows you how young this wisteria can be.

Negative Gardengirl1204 On May 26, 2005, Gardengirl1204 from Richmond, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I checking this wisteria off as 'negative' for one reason. It STINKS, literally! It is quite pretty but compared to my other wisteria, the fragrance is horrible! I have this wisteria planted at the end of my deck on one side of the steps. I have another wisteria planted on the other side of the steps. The latter one was planted at a different time and finally bloomed this year after 4 yrs! It smelled WONDERFUL!

When my second one bloomed for the first time last year, I thought cats had been relieving themselves around my deck. I was like EWWWW! So I was quite surprised when I stuck my face in the flower and realized that was what stunk. When it bloomed this year (a month after the first one), once again the stench was back. I'm thinking I may dig this one up and try and find one of the nice smelling ones (of course, I don't know the name of my other one!) to replace it.

Positive nevadagdn On Apr 22, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant, like many others that grow well in the South (-East OR -West), is slow to break dormancy in the spring. While the Clematis I planted to twine in my Wisteria is happily scrambling and rambling, the Wisteria is just barely beginning to leaf out. The take-home lesson: Don't give up on this plant until later in the season than you think is reasonable.

Positive wihead On Mar 16, 2003, wihead wrote:

Wisteria frutescens grows about 1/2 the rate of asian species and flowers from new growth. This make it a great plant for areas that are prone to late frosts. Wisteria frutescens flowers have a musky smell compared to the sweet fragrance of their asian counterparts. Propagates best from dormant wood cuttings with 2000ppm IBA


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

Daphne, Alabama
San Leandro, California
Tustin, California
Daytona Beach, Florida
Debary, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Ocoee, Florida
Cornelia, Georgia
Dallas, Georgia
Demorest, Georgia
Jonesboro, Georgia
Suwanee, Georgia
Hinsdale, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Solon, Iowa
Calvert City, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Alexandria, Louisiana
Coushatta, Louisiana
Brunswick, Maryland
Port Huron, Michigan
Cleveland, Mississippi
Sparks, Nevada
Brick, New Jersey
Wykagyl, New York
Sophia, North Carolina
Trinity, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cedarville, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Lawton, Oklahoma
Sarver, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina
Pelion, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Coppell, Texas
Houston, Texas
Danville, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Troy, Virginia
Huntington, West Virginia

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