My little Wisteria

Anyone have experience with Wisteria? Do we pinch new growth or do I let the leaves grow long then reduce the number of leaflets, or let them grow then prune after flowering?

This is a Wisteria floribunda 'Texas purple, literati. I’m also trying a different substrate, Fluval stratum aquarium substrate.



Basically like with most flowering trees, you start with building the trunk and branch structure first and then worry about the flowers later. My wisteria was grown in the ground for a number of years without pruning to thicken the trunk. Shape the trunk and branches in a style you like. Most wisterias are developed in a weeping style to facilitate the hanging down of the flowers. Severe wiring should be avoided as branch die back sometimes occurs. As to your question, wisterias are shown when the flowers are blooming. The leaves may come out later and are just emerging so their size is irrelevant. So let the leaves grow out to build the tree structure and later build your flower buds for next years bloom. The fact that your tree is already blooming is a big plus. Many people have to wait for years. You are off to a good start.

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Thank you David. I intend to keep this wisteria small and styled as literati. Just trying to see if there is a way to reduce leaf length and leaflet size.

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They will only flower on old wood, generally you never prune a wisteria until after the blooms are finished. If you want to thicken let it grow. If you are happy with the structure you can cut back to 3 leaves on each stem.

In the fall cut back to 3 leaves to allow flowering in the spring.

They are fun if you like pruning, to keep them small you have to prune almost every couple weeks.

I have 7 of them. They are fun in that they take allot of abuse, in regards to pruning. Be careful when re-potting they hate to have there roots messed with.

One more thing they do not like allot of fertilizer. You have to treat them allot different then a traditional bonsai. There are allot of good horticultural websites dedicated just to wisteria’s.

Thank you. I won’t be fertilizing until after flowering and will be using a 4-10-10. I’m prepared for the frequent pruning, this tree is fun to work with. I want to keep this tree in this size. I’ll be posting an updated picture soon.
Thanks again. I was planning on getting more, or maybe grow from a cutting for my front yard.

8 days later…


I trimmed my wisteria for a show this weekend at PBM. Bonsai Fest. Here’s what it looks like. I used a driftwood for the stand.


Absolutely awsome…
Love the stand.

Erobling, how old are your wisteria? I found that after of 20 years in a container, the tendrils stopped appearing and foliage grown is minimal. I prune to keep the silhouette. I do have some dieback with loss of small branches. It is hard to establish the apex. May be due to wisteria being a vine and the cold weather in Canada (zone 5 in my area).

I have one that is 17 years old taken as a cutting from a vine much older. I have die back as well. The year to two year branches hate the cold and seem to get frost type damage easily. As the get older I’ve done more dramatic pruning and have been forced to increase the pot size to keep them vigorous. Some of the nicer ones Old ones I’ve seen are almost imperial size. With the nature of them I’ve found they almost get a flat top type of look. I never really have tried them as a “traditional bonsai” look.

I started with Orchids, Rare colored Bamboos, and Wisterias before I endeavored into bonsai

What do you mean by imperial size? My wisteria is or tries to be styled in a weeping or slanting style to facilitate the hanging flowers.

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Imperial are between 60 and 80 inches tall. Japanese Imperial Garden sized. I really like them slanted or weeping, I have been working on making one look wind blown. I actually put it up on the roof during wind storms to help shape it based on what I witness and the storms beat in it

Thanks Erobling. Very unusual shaping technique. Don’t think that is in an bonsai literature I have ever come across. You may be on to something. I am more afraid of a strong wind blowing the tree off the bench. Because of the huge foliage mass, it is the only tree I have to wire down.

My wisteria is 27" tall, 33" wide with a 7" diameter trunk at the soil line. Less than half an imperial.

This is awesome! I’m learning from your conversations @DavidJ and @Erobling. My wisteria is a year and a half. It’s been in the ground for 6 months, then nursery pot for 6 months then I repotted it for PBM’s show every mother’s day weekend.

The people enjoyed my Wisteria. They liked the stand I used, even the traditional practitioners.
I am going to try putting it back in the ground from mid-May to early fall then digging it up to bring in. Like tropicals.


@ThienXiang your wisteria will still need a dormant period, so keep it outside. Protect it from frost in the pre-spring. In the wild they are used to being wrapped around trees which helps keep them protected. I either keep them next to the house in pots. Or if small drill some holes for air flow in a clear plastic storage bin and stake it over the plant (fake mini green house). Also note below I attached a brief link to help determine the type of wisteria there are close to 30 you find 3 common in the us

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You are right in sense like a tropical use clip and grow, as they grow too fast for wire. You can also fuse plants together very easily, like a tropical

@DavidJ as far as blooms don’t get too frustrated, some young wisteria won’t bloom for 10 years! In you old ones if it was in the ground I would tell you to cut it back in winter leaving a couple of shoots and cut at least half of last years growth. Another in ground technique is to drive a shovel into the root system about 12 from the base to send it a shock, to get blooms. I would say be patient, in a small pot I have taken a painters knife and severed a root. Just be careful as a small root system, would need a smaller shock

Thank you @Erobling. I’ve gone to this website many times already. It really is helpful and informative. My garage is not insulated, I was thinking of I could keep my maples in the garage during winter, I could probably di rje same for my wisteria since it is small and the pot is shallow too.
Then again, I should try your little greenhouse suggestion.
Thanks again!

Hello @Erobling, would love to see some pics of your wisteria: I have several of them, both as bonsai and in the garden! together with Clematis, they are one of my favorite climbing plants.

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