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Wisteria help please

Am after a bit of help with wisteria.
Bought a small plant (12 inch) last year. Planted it in its final position and put a cane for it to climb initially with a view to training it up a wall and across the front of the house on horizontal wires. The main leader has now outgrown the cane and I've untwined it and tied it to the horizontal wires. Am thinking I was right to untwine it as I'm wanting to remove the cane eventually, and all the ones I see in garden centres seem to have a straight main stem. Was I right to do so.

Also I'm wondering if I need to do any pruning to form the shape as there is only really the one leader climbing at the minute and I'm obviously wanting multiple shoots to tie in on 3 horizontal wires across the front of the house. How can I achieve this?

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Steve Parker



  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    You tie the leading stem in a straight line vertically a first Steve giving a main stem. When you reach your desired height, you cut the tip off the leading stem which will encourage side shoots to develop. You train the side shoots to the vertical wires, till you achieve the desired shape. It will take a few years to get to where you want it and the pruning regime is a twice yearly affair and quite simple.

  • Thanks Dave. When you say to the desired height, should I stop it slightly short of where I want to train it horizontal, or to the point where the leader is to the middle of the horizontal wires. Also when should I do this first prune.

    Have seen plenty of advice re subsequent pruning, but not much on the initial formation and training.



  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Let the leader grow to the top of the wire frame firstly. When it reaches the top nip it out and tie in all the way up. The leader will thicken over time. You will get side shoots developing, so take the one's closest to your wires and tie them in. Any shoots which are extra or out of place cut out completely. You won't get too much side growth till the leader is pinched out and initially pruning will be minimal, it's more about developing the framework and tying in side shoots to the frame. You won't need to really prune the side shoots till they reach the edge of your framework, you want them to cover the framework as soon as possible. 

    You can prune straggly shoots back to three leaf axils from the main stem, which encourages bushy growth, but the main job is to cover the frame, which depending on conditions can take a few seasons. So pruning now should be the last job you tackle. Tie in as it grows and only start stopping when you reach the edges of your framework. You won't get many flowers in the first few years, training Wisteria is about patience initially.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,051

    Sorry to disagree, but I'd let the leading shoot grow up then re-position it onto horizontal wires which will encourage shoots to break from the buds along its length.

    Let those shoots grow up then repeat the re-positioning.

    Apical dominance is what we're dealing with here.

    If you nip out the top, the new growth will always be from the bud immediately below that cut.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,859

    The diagrams here may be helpful


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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