Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 15, 2013

From: Rockwall, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Vines
Title: 10 year old Wisteria fails to bloom in Rockwall, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I love wisteria. I had four (4) wisteria plants professionally planted at least ten (10) years ago. These wisteria plants have NEVER bloomed. Why not?

ANSWER:

The native Wisteria in Texas is Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), and according to the USDA distribution map, it doesn’t natively occur in Rockwall county.  This link to the Missouri Botanical Garden has lots of information about this Wisteria, and has this to say about flowering; “Failure of vines to produce flowers may be attributable to a number of causes including death of flower buds in winter, too much shade, plants too young (especially seed grown ones), improper pruning or over fertilization.”

It could be that you have one of the Asian species of Wisteria; Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis ) or Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda ). These can take up to 15 years for flowers to appear.

This fact sheet from  Ohio State University Extension tells a lot about these plants.

Here’s some interesting information from Purdue University; “Since most gardeners are drawn to this plant for its blossoms, they are quite frustrated by the plant's notorious tendency to produce only vegetation. There are many potential explanations for this annoying problem, including the plant's immaturity, too much nitrogen, insufficient phosphorus, poor-quality plants and too much shade.
Asian wisterias need to reach a degree of maturity before they are able to produce flowers. In fact, in can take up to 15 years or more before the vines reach blooming stage.
Those who have succeeded in raising wisteria often recommend root pruning, applying superphosphate, rigorous pruning of the shoots and planting in full sun. Most important, you should start with good-quality plants that have been propagated from cuttings of plants known to flower while relatively young. If you know someone willing to share a great specimen, take cuttings of the stem tips in July.  Avoid planting seedling vines because the genetic variability of seed reproduction makes it impossible to predict their blooming habit.”
The invasive potential of Asian wisterias  is a concern in some southern states.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Browning leaves on non-native Burford holly
August 22, 2008 - I have several dwarf Burford hollies whose leaves are browning. The individual leaves have colors of green, dark brown to light brown extending from the stem. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Royal Empress tree with only green leaves from Chambersburg PA
July 12, 2013 - I have 3 Royal Empress trees in my yard that are between 2-4 yrs old and have never been any color other then big Green leaves. Do you know when they will turn Purple?
view the full question and answer

Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
August 22, 2011 - Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Cirsium arvense in Michigan
September 07, 2008 - I have identified that I have growing abundantly "Canada Thistle";the noxious and invasive. I know this to be true because where it grows nothing else grows; not even the native weeds. I want to get...
view the full question and answer

Did Mexican fire bush (Hamelia patens) survive winter cold?
May 05, 2010 - I have a Mexican fire bush that I planted last spring and it bloomed beautifully last summer. It browned and we cut it back to the ground. Right now it's showing no signs of life and I'm afraid it m...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.