Wild About Wisteria

I just LOVE it when the wisteria on the front of our house comes into bloom – and the scent as you walk through the front door is absolutely knock out!

Named by botanist Thomas Nuttall in memory of the 18CAmerican physician and anatomist Caspar Wistar, I always think wisteria brings such character to the house and somehow gives it heritage, even if it’s relatively new…

Design tip

Choose a wisteria that has a contrasting colour to your house. If you have white walls, go for a strong purple wisteria for maximum impact. If you have dark stone or brick, a wisteria with white racemes (flowers) stands out beautifully.


They can form an extensive root run, so we now plant a little further away from the house than they would have done in very old houses when there wasn’t the same number if water pipes and drainage under and around houses.


Best pruned twice a year. 1. In winter where you can prune while there are no leaves – can cut back to a frame and stimulate the flower buds; 2. mid-summer maintenance to stop it going up drainpipes and into the roof 😊

Did you know…

They take many years to flower for the first time, so better to buy an older plant that is already able to flower. I’ve heard of someone who bought a seedling and waited 15 years to find that they have one that will probably never flower!

They always twine in a clockwise direction.

They evolved to clamber to the top of East Asian forests as quickly as possible – that’s why they’re so vigorous and continually try to go up downpipes and into roof tiles! See above pruning tips!

If left unchecked they can eventually crush downpipes and drains. Not a low maintenance plant – but still so worth it.

About Nicky Chamberlain

Surrey Saffa, Gregarious gardener, Middling mum, Sufficient soprano, Flawed feminist, Puny punner, Determined Designer (#LCGD '17-19).