American Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls'

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)
Cultivar: Amethyst Falls
Synonym:Wisteria macrostachya



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Athens, Georgia

Cornelia, Georgia

Dallas, Georgia

Demorest, Georgia

Jonesboro, Georgia

Suwanee, Georgia

Hinsdale, Illinois

Winnetka, Illinois

Carmel, Indiana

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

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Pelion, South Carolina

Pleasant View, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Coppell, Texas

Houston, Texas

Danville, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Troy, Virginia

Huntington, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 18, 2016, Midd from Carmel, IN wrote:

The blossoms on this plant reek of male cat pee. While I have read online, they are up to 10 inches in length, they are not. They are much shorter. Will attempt ground level runners of MANY feet.

Looks nice from a distance, but when in bloom, I don't even like mowing next to it. You'll need to air the house if you attempt to bring a bloom inside!

If you are looking for a wisteria because you've read they smell wonderful, THIS is not your variety!


On May 12, 2015, CapeCodCookie from Buzzards Bay, MA wrote:

Hi. Can someone tell me, is the bad smell from the flower only, or from the foliage too?

I just bought 10 plants for the columns on our porch that wraps around the house, but haven't planted them yet.

After reading all the post here I'm worried that the whole yard will smell. If it's only when it flowers then can probably live with it.

Appreciate any advice - Thanks.


On May 4, 2015, Jennib69 from Elkmont, AL wrote:

I bought this plant as a one gallon from a local nursery 5 years ago. It is a beautiful, fast growing, shade producing vine. I have it planted beside an 8ft trellis and it has climbed over it and started reaching toward my swing on the other side. It blooms at least twice a year since the 3rd year planted.
Now for the negative rating. THE SMELL!!! This spring and very lightly last spring it smelled like Male cat urine!!!! It is so bad this year I cannot sit outside or open my windows.
I wish anybody had any idea why!!! We had scads of rain this year??? I know I have other plants that smell of cat urine after a good soaking rain.... But nothing like this, I actually have been developing migraines it is so bad.
If this smell does not go away soon I am afraid this beau... read more


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.


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.


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!


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!


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?


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... read more


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!!


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!


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.


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.


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... read more


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 ... read more


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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