Japanese wisteria is a deciduous flowering vine native to Japan and a member of the pea family, Fabaceae, that also includes lupines, mimosa, and black locust.  The vine grows up to 35’ or more and climbs by twining clock-wise.  It can be grown as a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree or on an arbor or wall.  The bright green leaves are 12-16” long and pinnately compound with 9-19 leaflets ¾” to 2.4” long. In early to mid spring, pendent racemes of flowers  1.5’-3’ long appear.  The pea-like flowers are fragrant and may be blue, violet, pink, or white.  They  give way to brown velvety  6” long seed pods that mature in summer and may persist into winter.  Japanese wisteria has longer racemes than any other wisteria and is admired for its spectacular appearance when in full flower.  It is a vigorous vine and can damage the structures that hold it and/or become invasive.  Along with Chinese wisteria, Wisteria senensis, Japanese wisteria  is a popular subject for bonsai.  The genus name, Wisteria honors Caspar Wistar, an 18th century professor anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania.  The specific epithet, floribunda, is the new Latin word meaning producing many flowers.

Type: Deciduous flowering vine

Bloom: Pendant racemes of blue, violet, pink, or white in mid to early spring

Size: Up to 35’ long

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Prune on mid to late summer to maintain size and shape

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Cuttings, graphs, layering, seed (most difficult)

Companion Plant: Clematis montana

By Karen