Wildly wonderful wisteria can quickly become wild and wicked wisteria. Reader Alicia writes, “when is the best time of year to prune wisteria?”
Taming the wisteria (before photo). The first photo shows what the ancient wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) looked like when first I took over the gardens at Willowdale Estate. I removed much of the plant and bent one long trunk over and down, attaching it to a thick bamboo stake, to create the wisteria “arch.” The next photo shows what the wisteria arch looked like by mid-summer that same year.
Alicia asks: “Much to my surprise the wisteria is blooming and has never been this late. I really gave up on it and am wondering why? When is the best time to prune it?”
Wisteria throughout our region bloomed later than usual I think becasue spring got off to such a slow start this year.
Wisteria grows beautifully and is easiest to control when pruned biannually, or twice a year; a summer pruning and a winter pruning.
Summer Pruning: Cut the long shoots after the flowers fade to about six inches.
Winter Pruning: In late winter, before the buds begin to swell, prune all the shoots that have since grown after the summer pruning. The shape of the leafless wisteria is more clearly visible and you can easily see the unruly, long shoots at this time of year. Cut the branches to about 3 to 5 buds and over time, these shortened flowering branches will resemble a wisteria “hand.”