An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

April 8, 2010

The Purple Curtain

Right now many parts of this area are cloaked in a purple curtain of Wisteria. It has naturalized to the point that many people think of it as native. What most people are seeing is Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria) that has escaped cultivation. There are several truly native Wisterias, W. frutescens and W. macrostachya. Although vigourous, these native varieties are much better behaved than W. sinensis and the other common Asian species W. floribunda (Japanese Wisteria). Despite their behaviour issues, we sell the Asian species at work because these are what people think of as traditional, but we sell the W. frutescens as well. Years ago several Japanese Wisterias were planted at the garden center onto steel poles and trained as trees, and right now they are stunning, their sweet scent nearly cloying. If you are in the market, you should know that it can sometimes take the Chinese up to 7 years to bloom, but the more expensive Japanese blooms at a younger age. The American species will bloom a little later, a little less showy, but will tend to re-bloom lightly and occasionally through the summer.

Wisteria floribunda 'Texas Purple'

Wisteria floribunda 'Texas Purple' (5)


Wisteria floribunda 'Texas Purple' (2)


Wisteria floribunda 'Texas Purple' (4)


Wisteria floribunda 'Issai'

Wisteria floribunda 'Issai'

Even plants ignore speed limits.

Wisteria Speed Limit

29 comments:

  1. There is a beautiful white wisteria near my house in the woods. It blooms profusely on the road side, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. It seemingly extends several hundred feet back into the forest, emerging at the tops of tall trees a great distance from the road. It's a monster out of control, but a beautiful one. Not as bad as kudzu, though.

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  2. Les,

    Nice shots of the wisteria! I enjoy the aroma they have, very grapeish.

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  3. Thanks Les, for the education. I always thought those wisteria in the wild were natives, not escapees. They are blooming here as well and look lovely. I once bought a tree trained one, and had to dig it out as it suckered all over the place, sad to say. I do admire them, the Biltmore has some magnificent specimens on huge pergolas.
    Frances

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  4. Wisteria is so beautiful and is blooming everywhere around here. Some of it has taken over some yards thuogh, but at least it screams beauty! I planted one small plant last summer and it stands about 2 feet tall. We've got some time!

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  5. Beautiful blossoms Les! Lovely and fragrant was our Wisteria which covered an outdoor pergola, but we had to finally cut it down. It was springing up everywhere, running underground and with a trunk so large that it was devouring the posts upon which it clung. That was 2 years ago and we yet fight the little offerings.

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  6. It certainly is beautiful, but it's unfortunate how much area it's taken over. I was just taking pictures today of the amazing wisteria covered 'ruins' next to the Williamsburg library.

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  7. You've captured the beauty of Wisteria so well! I love it, but sadly have nowhere to plant it in the danger garden. My previous employer had it growing near the entry of the building. I miss seeing it!

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  8. I love visiting other people's wisteria. It is so beautiful, but a bit scary to invite in as a permanent resident.

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  9. Hi, first time visitor to your blog. Maybe I'll learn something. :) Our wisteria bloomed last year but this year it already has leaves. I guess this means it's not going to bloom?

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  10. The photo of Wisteria floribunda 'Texas Purple' looks like so many butterflies!

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  11. Wow. Let em spell taht backwards. Wow.

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  12. Les, They really are escape artists! I've a white one that sends it's octopus like tentacles everywhere. But they do smell divine! I think the best I've ever seen them are at great estates and botanical centers with a staff to keep them groomed and controlled! Gail

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  13. Beautiful photos. I know that Wisteria has an evil side but I love it anyway. We grow one in shrub form and it's blooming this year. Often as not it gets frozen. Love the fragrance too.

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  14. We, like many people, were inspired to plant wisteria (probably W. sinensis) when we first moved here. And then, because of the vigorous growth, made the mistake of trying to move it twice. It now persists 30 years later in all three places no matter how many times we have cut it back. On the front bank it has created an enormous network of wrist-thick roots and runners along the ground rising to the fence at every opportunity. I've always loved the flowers (your pictures are magnificent) but they should only be planted with the greatest of care and consideration about how they will be contained.

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  15. Hey everyone, I want to thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Sorry I did not respond individually.

    Les

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  16. Amazingly beautiful purple Wisteria flowers. I love looking those flowers that looks like a curtain along the road.

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  17. This plant grows wild all over my neighborhood. Gorgeous blooms. Thanks for stopping by my blog last night. Too funny Les, yes 6 more months of spring, lol. ;)

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  18. I haven't been reading anyone's blogs lately, with how busy I've been, but after seeing your photos, I wish I have been keeping up!

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  19. Beautiful wisteria curtain and thanks for the information too. These flowers are marvelous and wonderful to see.
    I wish you a great sunday.
    J├╝rgen

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  20. I have some photos of our Texas Purple in the LG, I might assume we got it from you.
    We have a friend whose parents' house was being swallowed by an invasive wisteria....it was traveling under their foundation.

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  21. Your photographs are stunning! I like the one of the wisteria by the speed limit sign! :)

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  22. Purple, dripping loveliness, Les!

    Hey, do you know where I can find *native* honeysuckle for sale in Virginia?

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  23. The last picture is lovely! The caption is even better. I thought I knew a little about wisteria, but you've just taught me a lot more. Thanks!

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  24. I get such a smile on my face when seeing the blooming wisteria as it is yet another reminder of my childhood. We had a telephone pole covered with the stuff. The bees had a heyday with it in the spring and we could not go near it as they would sting us. Ouch! I spotted a white one down the street here and was baffled by it as I did not know about white wisteria and here I see your white beauty today. Great info on the grape like beauties….

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  25. Wow! I wish I could hang such a gorgeous purple curtain in my garden, but we are too far north. I love wisteria. It makes me think of England. My British in-law's house is covered in it.

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  26. Great blog. Awesome Wisteria! We just planted two of these on a little remodel we are doing.

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  27. Interesting that you should write this, I bought the native W. macrostachya from Bustani Plant Farm yesterday. I'm going to plant it where a 'Don Juan' rose is failing. I hope it does well there. Thanks for the info, and I love the last photo.~~Dee

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  28. Good morning to Sarah Laurence,

    Your comment about “such a gorgeous purple curtain” but “we are too far north” caught my eye. I live in Halifax Nova Scotia and have two white wisterias growing wildly onto the back of my house. I have just had an arbour built and am about to plant a purple variety. The back of the house faces out through the Halifax harbour approaches, which puts it pretty much due south. We are zone 5 or 6 depending upon who you read and our winter storms can be ferocious. The wisteria seems to love it.

    R.J.Rod Simpson

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