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Wisteria or not?



Hi guys,


I am looking for some advice in two parts as I am a new gardener. First of all is the attached photo a wisteria?

Secondly, I am looking for a quick-climbing plant with good foliage to sprawl up a trellace and along the top of a veranda which I have on my 5th floor, south facing balcony in London. The balcony is exposed to quite a bit of harsh sunlight in the summer and strong winds in the winter as its 5th floor and quite exposed. Do you think wisteria would do the job? I am looking for thick foliage over everything, I don't mind about flowers particularly.

Any advice would be much appreciated!


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,934

    It could well be a Wisteria. Wisteria grow big, so be prepared to share yours with all the other flat owners.


     They also grow by twisting their branches tighter and tighter. Until they strangled the thing they are growing over. I have seen one pull a cast iron verandah off a house fromt.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • turmericturmeric Posts: 825

    Hi Catherine, firstly can I say I nearly fell over with jealousy when I saw your photo as I thought you were about to tell us all that it was of your garden.  Anyway, I have to say wisteria may not be the best choice.  As pansyface said it does go crazy and needs pruning twice a year.  This is mainly for the best flowers and I realise you aren't bothered about the flowers but the stems with the leaves on can reach quite a length if not trimmed.  Your photo and the one from pansyface show wisteria that has been very well cared for and managed.  Off the top of my head have you considered Trachelospermum jasminoides? Evergreen climber with fragrant white floweres, will cover your trellis and balcony without going too mad.  You can nip off unwanted bits rather than having to prune in a specific way as you would for wisteria.  Just a thought.  Good luck.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Catherine I would strongly advise against a wisteria in your situation. I look after several, one over 30ft tall. A balcony in London isn't suitable, they are far too heavy and strong winds can bring them down. I doubt the subsequent repair bill would be anything other than huge. You need something light and easily managed. Don't forget you'll be the one responsible if something goes wrong. The Trachelospermum wouldn't like the strong winds, they'd dry it out in winter. There are a few clematis which are evergreen plus the ivy's, which can be pot grown. Just be careful what you choose, especially as you're on the 5th floor.

  • Thanks for your help and advice guys, I consider myself thoroughly warned against the wisteria! I definitely don't want to have to foot the bill when it tears off the metal thing which I am trying to get it to weave through... I have attached a photo of my actual balcony, so you can see why I am looking to add some greenery to brighten the place up! (I only recently moved in). I think I will investigate some types of clematis, I like the fact that the leaves are lighter in colour and appear less waxy than the jasmine.



  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,769

    Are you planning to grow it in a pot then? Some clematis are good in pots, but others, like the vigorous Montana, don't like being in pots, not a long enough root run. If you had smaller clematis you could have 2 pots, one on each side. They can take a year or two to get going though. Make sure it's one that likes sun. There are so many clematis varieties. This site tells you all about them.  

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,934
    I know someone who lives in a south facing, fith floor flat in SW London. And I know how blisteringly hot it can get there on a sunny summer's day. Clematis like to have cool roots. I'm wondering if it all might be a bit too much for them.

    There are plants which would be far too tender for me to grow here in Derbyshire but which might do quite well in the much balmier climes of, say, Balham.

    How about something like Morning glory. Or Black-eyed Susan (an annual but a fast grower). Or a passion flower. Or a Cobaea, if you can find one. Or a bougainvillea with a few days of winter protection. Or a Plumbago?

    Anything that you plant in a pot in such a sunny spot will need a lot of watering - no holidays - and a lot of care once it starts to shoot about the place.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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