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Wednesday - May 09, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Vines
Title: Slow flowering wisteria
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


We have a young wisteria growing on the side of the house. It began to flower this year for the first time. Whereas my neighbors' wisterias all bloomed in February, ours has only begun to bloom in mid-April. Is it possible that our wisteria is native, wisteria frutescens?


You may have the native American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), but more likely you have either the non-native Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) or the Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis). Whichever it is, the wisterias are notoriously slow to flower. This may be caused by a combination of factors including the age of the plants, the amount of sunlight, and nitrogen levels in the soil. Older plants are more likely to flower, plenty of light is a necessity, and high nitrogen levels, vis-a-vis phosphorous, reduce flowering.

As to the identification of the plants, one fairly reliable characteristic distinguishing the different species is the length of the flowering cluster (raceme). W.floribunda is the longest with 12-18 inch racemes; W. sinensis follows with 6-12 inches; and W. frutescens is last with 4-6 inch racemes.

Check the following sites for even more information about these beautiful plants. Oregon State University Department of Horticulture, and Growing Wisteria from the Ohio State University Extension Service









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