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Training a wisteria

joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 213
I’m starting to train this wisteria. It’s a few years old. I read that they should be trained like an espalier so I plan to have the shoots coming up to just above the window height and then going off to the left and right. Is that the right sort of thing to do? I have put in vine eyes and wire to support them as they grow upwards.
Thanks, Joe


  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,991
    You're on the right track Joe and I can see that the horizontal wires look the right width apart. You will need heavy duty strong wire as wisteria growth can be quite heavy and you need to allow for the vertical length of the leaves and flower racemes which could measure 1-2 ft in length. e.g. the wires above the window need to be at least a foot or more above the top of the window, otherwise your light will be blocked.

    That being said, you will also need a sturdy stepladder if you haven't got one already, in order to prune the wisteria several times a year, they can grow very quickly, as in a couple of feet a week or so. I pruned all the long new shoots on mine just a week ago and already they've re-sprouted and are waving at me! Wisteria also need a lot of water.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,080
    I didn’t know you trained those whippy  bits, I’ve always cut those off and just tied in the branches off the main stem.
    this is mine this year,  still a young plant.  We’ve put another row of wires up now to tie in the next set of branches.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks guys. All noted. I’ll take a good look at my pruning and training book…
  • @Lyn, I think you’re right and I’m doing it wrong. You’ve done it just like my book says to do it. 
    So what do I do now? 
    I want to train it up to above window height and then along to the sides with a tier and then across a structure I’m going to put in. I guess I’m going to have to take out all of the laterals in the winter and re-establish a central leader and then train that up and up and up! Any ideas?

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,080
    You need to find a good upright first,  Then as it grows branches out of the side those you tie in,  I took the bottom branches off so just leaving the upright, I’m not sure without looking what you should do now. 
    The thin branch at the back going off to the right, I would cut back close to the main trunk. 
    To be perfectly honest with you,  the plant is not good there, these things grow huge,  the side branches will be many metres long in no time.
    have you got a long plain wall you can re plant it. 

    My photo was in June this year,  now look at it,  I can’t take a photo standing in front of it now. Just one month later. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Thanks @Lyn. You’re right, there’s not much wall there for it but I was hoping to put in a pergola over our seating area down that end of the garden and have it growing over that mainly. At the moment I just want it to grow up. Yours looks lovely 👍🏻
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,080
    If you’re going to put it over a pergola later, it’s not worth trying to train it up the wall, i would cut off the whippy bits and just leave it for now until it’s settled in where you want it,  then start it’s training. 
    I wouldn’t leave it too long though, once it’s branches grow they may not be easily bendable. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hi @Lyn, it’s been in its position for a year so I decided that I’d take the plunge and try to set it right. If it’s too shocked then I’ll get a new one. 
    I’m going for a standard that comes up the wall and then is trained out above head height. Fingers crossed it won’t just die now!

  • LynLyn Posts: 23,080
    It will have your guttering down Joe. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hmmm good point, well I’ll take it as a challenge to divert it forwards and over the head away from the guttering and if all goes wrong I’ll cut it down and give up!
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