Wisteria sinensis, commonly called Chinese wisteria, is a deciduous vine that grows vigorously to 25’ or more and features 6-12” long racemes of mildly-fragrant, pea-like, blue-violet flowers in May when the foliage is just beginning to expand. Flowers bloom somewhat simultaneously on the racemes thus producing a dramatic floral display. Flowers give way to pendant, velvety, bean-like seed pods (4-6” long) which ripen in autumn and may persist into winter. Compound, odd-pinnate, deep green leaves (each leaf typically with 7-13 leaflets). This is an excellent vine for large, sturdy, freestanding arbors, pergolas, posts, trellises, fences or terrace walls, and can be particularly effective when grown near or above patios where the flowers can be enjoyed in season. May also be trained as a specimen shrub or tree. Best grown in slightly acidic, humusy, moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Hardy in zones 5-8.
Growing Instructions for the Chinese Wisteria
The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Soak the seed in warm water for 12 hours. 3. Use a sterile seed starter mix, if available. It prevents soil fungi from damaging the seeds and the seedlings. If not available, then make a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. 4. Put the soil in a pot. 5. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet. 6. Put the seeds on the soil. 7. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil that is ¼ of an inch thick. 8. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade. 9. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.