Wisteria

Wisteria has always been one of my favorite flowers. There’s just something so romantic about the way it languidly drapes its loooong clusters of lavender, sweet-smelling flowers from swaying, graceful branches. No wonder it’s so popular.

But the beauty belies the beast – Wisteria is actually quite a thug. Classified as a noxious weed in our state along with fragrant honeysuckle and English Ivy, Wisteria is our kudzu. It can grow over 50 feet tall and strangles fully-grown, towering trees. It spreads like wildfire and crowds out native flora.

There are native American species that are neither as invasive nor as aggressive; they grow perhaps 20 feet. Amethyst Falls is one, and its scale fit perfectly in my old townhouse garden. But the flowers are only 1/3 as long, don’t smell as nice, and… well… they’re kind of like watery koolaid is to fresh lemonade.

So I think I’ll let this one stay, and attempt to train it into a tree wisteria like this one:

… though of course I will never get to see mine get to 150 years old like this one is. A sad reminder of my own mortality.

Now that my own little backyard thug is nearly done flowering, I’ve gotta get out there and whip it into shape – that is, cut it back brutally to the trunk. I’ll have to continue cutting it during the summer – it can grow several feet per year, so it’ll rebound in no time. And I’ll have to do the same every single year if I want to keep this delinquent around for good. Let’s hope it shapes up before I get even less sensitive and romantic and decide it’s just too much work.

One Response to “Wisteria”

  1. David in Kansas Says:

    Wow! I did not know Wisteria could grow like a tree! In my native hometown, the Spaniards planted Bougainvilleas that turned into trees after a hundred years or so but I had never seen a Wisteria tree before.

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