Paisley Plant of the Week: Wisteria

Paisley Plant of the Week: Wisteria


Robin Red Breast, Here comes spring!

All gardeners that I know have a “signal” that is the harbinger of spring for them personally.

For some, it’s the nodding of the daffodils. For others it’s the insistence of the robins with their red breasts. Perhaps it’s the forsythia with it’s cheerful disposition and blazing confidence.

Nodding Daffodils

The NHL playoffs? To each his own.

Old World Charm Wisteria

For me, the realization that spring has taken hold and will no longer brook resistance from old man winter is the arrival of the wisteria. I know, it’s a relative late comer to the “here’s spring” arena, but it works for me. Perhaps because of it’s slight hesitation as if it just hangs around seeing if all it’s cousins are going to be nipped in the bud by that one last hard frost that was just waiting for green grass to appear before it laid down the law.

The patient, tentative, wise wisteria with it’s quiet disposition and unassuming character, seems like a warm hug saying, “Come out to play. Winter is gone.”.

“Ding Dong the witch is dead. Which old witch, the wicked witch”

In the pea family, wisteria has nitrogen fixing capabilities and benefits from feedings of potassium and phosphate.

Sierra Madre, CA Largest Wisteria Vine---One Acre long

Did I say unassuming character? Let me back track slightly, wisteria has a pastel “old world” quality about it, but it can spread aggressively and it’s vines grow thick and are quite heavy when mature. Caution should be shown if you are adding wisteria to your home garden for this reason. You need a sturdy pergola or start it by established trees. The largest known cultivar is in Sierra Madre, CA and it spreads for over an acre. That’s a lot of vine.

It’s easier to get your plants as cuttings from established vines. You can grow wisteria from seed, but it could be years (even decades) before you might see any blooms from it. If you’re the “in it for the long haul” optimist person, go for it, grow them from seed. For the rest of us, cuttings from friends and buying from reputable nurseries will have to do.


What do Hydrangea and Wisteria have in common? The color is affected by soil pH. See pHat Tuesday for more about pH levels and what you can do about them. If you already know you want a particular color, you can get the variety of your choice. There is white wisteria, as well as a purpley pink, intense purple and the old standard pastel lavender.

I couldn’t resist this pretty knit pattern for a knitted wisteria, but alas it reminds me that I have some knit and crochet orders to fill and I must get off the computer and on to the needles. 

Have a dripping wisteria, happy paisley spring day!~KeriAnne


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