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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - June 24, 2008

From: Cushing, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Vines
Title: Non-blooming wisteria in Oklahoma
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a wisteria bush that doesn't bloom. It's two years old. What should I do?

ANSWER:

There is one wisteria native to North America, Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), grown mostly in the South. It is less aggressive than similar Asian species. The wisterias typically planted in home gardens are Wisteria sinensis, or Chinese wisteria, and Wisteria floribunda, Japanese wisteria. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, propagation and protection of plants native to North America. They are better for the environment, as they use less fertilizer, water and maintenance. However, the care for the plants are about the same, so we will see what kind of help we can give you.

Here is an excellent article from Ohio State University Extension on Growing Wisteria. To address your question on blooming of the wisteria, plants that are grown from seed remain in a long juvenile period and often do not bloom for ten to fifteen years, sometimes longer. Plants that are grafted or grown from cuttings may bloom earlier than seedlings. Chinese wisteria may bloom three to four years after planting; however, the juvenile period may be much longer. The short answer is that your plant is probably not old enough to bloom, yet and may not be old enough for years. In order to bloom well, the plant will need at least 6 hours daily of direct sunlight. The Asian species get HUGE, up to 65 feet tall, and can take over an area, or climb a tree and smother it. The vines are very heavy and need major support.

Now that we've talked about the blooming, maybe you might consider whether you really want to keep this garage-eater. Read this article by the Plant Conservation Alliance on "Least Wanted" Exotic Wisteria. Here are some native alternatives to Asian wisterias, all native to North America and all found in Oklahoma:

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria)

Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)


Wisteria frutescens

Campsis radicans

Lonicera sempervirens

Bignonia capreolata

 

 

 

 

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