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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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Saturday - November 05, 2005

From: St.Catharines, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Pruning, Transplants, Vines
Title: Conditions for wisteria bloom on Ontario, Canada
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in Ontario Canada, and about 4 years ago I bought a shrub which was called wisteria. I loved this bush when I visited a cousin out in British Columbia. The problem is it has no trouble growing along my back fence, but it has never flowered? I'd also like to be able to split it so I can have some at the front of my house. I've seen a young branch coming from the ground, can I do that?

ANSWER:

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 is especially true if they are fertilized or growing in soil that is too rich in nitrogen. In such a situation they grow lush foliage but are reluctant to bloom. Another factor in having a successfully blooming wisteria is available sunlight—it needs plenty of it. Pruning in early summer and again in late winter can encourage blooming. You also probably want to keep your wisteria pruned, especially if it is one of the non-natives, because they tend to "devour" fences. As for moving the young branch to a new location, wisterias are difficult to transplant. You are not likely to hurt the old plant, but may not be successful in getting it to grow in a new location. Ohio State University Extension Service has an excellent article on "Growing Wisteria".

 

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