How to Get Wisteria to Bloom

For many years gardeners in the Northeast could not get wisteria to bloom. In warmer climes, wisteria breaks dormancy with a burst of color, then gets leaves and grows. But our climate generally killed all the flower buds set the year before, so we didn’t get flowers. But that has changed.

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Harvey Buchite of Rice Creek Gardens in Blaine, Minnesota wanted a wisteria that would bloom in his climate, which is a cold as ours. He was given a seedling on his wedding day 31 years ago, one started from a seed of a fairly tough hybrid. His turned out to be a wonder vine, and he named it the Blue Moon Wisteria.

Blue Moon wisteria

Blue Moon blooms reliably after winter temperatures of 30 below. The reason for its success? Blue Moon, unlike most other wisteria, blooms on shoots grown in the current season – new wood. So even after hard winters it will bloom. Buchite has been cloning and selling it ever since, but as he never trademarked it, others have also grown it – and not needed to pay him a dime.  

My Blue Moon had taken over this arbor (last summer's photo)

Since that time another wisteria cultivar, Amethyst Falls, has been developed. I like this one even better, but I grow both. The flower panicles are more compact on Amethyst Falls, it has a higher density of blossoms, and it blooms a couple of weeks earlier. The color of Blue Moon wisteria is a little paler than Amethyst Falls.

Amethyst Falls wisteria is my favorite of the two I grow.

Grow your wisteria on a trellis or arbor in full sun and rich soil. They do well anywhere, I suspect, but mine are growing in soil that stays somewhat moist all year. The vines will encircle the verticals and crawl across lateral supports, developing thick vines over time.  

So buy a wisteria, just be sure you get the right variety. 

Summer is full of gorgeous flowers. Click here to see some of my favorites, and learn how to grow them. Or click here, and learn about showy ladyslippers, and how to grow them. 

Showy ladyslipper

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