Wisteria sinensis makes a huge beautiful statement with vast quantities of very pretty lilac/lavender pea flowers in long pendant racemes in May and June. The dark green pinnate leaves follow and there is often a small second flush in late summer.
The sweet scent hangs in the air on warm sunny days. It is fully hardy to -15C and will thrive in acid or alkaline soils in any fertile moist well-drained position. Given time it will reach extravagant heights, to 40' or more. It will need a strong support or host when the trailing stems will twine further. It prefers a sunny position but will tolerate partial shade.
Wisteria sinensis is the most beautiful of climbers with huge showy scented lilac/blue racemes of flowers in May and June. It should always be grown in a prominent position, against a wall, on a pergola, a strong pillar, covering railings or even into a large tree.
It can be grown as a half standard on a frame where, if judiciously pruned, it will make a fabulous statement. The plant was introduced to the UK in 1816 by the English botanist Thomas Nuttall who brought it back from the United States, although its origins are in China. Examples can be seen growing in many great gardens such as Sissinghurst and Nymans.
Wisteria sinensis is generally disease free although it can be prone, on occasions, to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Watch for yellowing leaves and honeydew (sticky coating on leaves). If these are seen mealybugs may have infested the plant. Treat with a proprietary control.
All parts of the plant are poisonous and will cause severe stomach problems if ingested. It needs pruning twice a year. Two months after flowering the long shoots should be cut back to 5 or 6 buds from the stem and then, in mid-winter, it should be cut back again to 2 or 3 buds from the stem.
Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) originates from woodland edges in China where is scrambles over cliffs and into trees. It was introduced by an English botanist and zoologist named Thomas Nuttall who named it after Dr Caspar Wistar a famous physician.