Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria Sinensis) is a vigorous, fast growing, long-lived, twining ornamental with fragrant and colorful Wisteria flowers. Chinese Wisteria, also known as Common Wisteria or Sweet Wisteria is native to China. It was first introduced into the United States in 1816 for ornamental purposes. Chinese Wisteria grows to 35-70 feet tall and twins in a counter-clockwise motion around any available support. Stems are smooth and gray in color and can attain diameters of up to 15 inches. Leaves are shiny, green, compound and consist of 7 to 13 leaflets to about 2 to 4 inches in length.
In late May Chinese Wisteria forms huge, pendulous, grape like clusters of white, violet, lilac-blue, blue Wisteria flowers. Chinese Wisteria produces Wisteria flowers before the leaves emerge. All the Wisteria flowers of one raceme opening simultaneously. Chinese Wisteria flowers have appealing fragrance. Each Chinese Wisteria flower is 1/2 to 1 inch long. The flowers are followed by attractive velvety pods 4-6 inches in length containing 4-6 seeds.
Chinese Wisteria can be grown as a container specimen, bonsai or a small tree. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5-9. Chinese Wisteria requires full sun to partial shade. It tolerates a variety of soil and moisture regimes, but prefers well-drained, loamy soil. Suports must be sturdy, because the mature plants are very heavy and can easily overwhelm nearby structures and plants. The weight from Wisteria can topple the trees. Chinese Wisteria can also kill trees by choking and shading them. Annual pruning is necessary, Chinese Wisteria easily escapes landscape plantings and spreads aggressively into natural areas.
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