Please do not plant the beautiful and invasive Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). It should never be planted. Yes I said it. This beautiful flower which is blooming now (end of March early April) in zone 7 Southeast Virginia is the most invasive plant I have ever seen. Chinese Wisteria is worse than Kudzu-another southern nightmare along the roads and wooded areas. I never knew what invasive looked like until I moved to Virginia where many plants sold at big box stores and garden centers are actually invasive and should not be planted by the average homeowner.
I have to confess that when I first saw the Chinese Wisteria blooming along the roadsides my first spring (2004). I was in love with the purple drooping flowers and the heavenly smell and from afar the plant looked beautiful but up close that told a different story.
You cannot control the Chinese Wisteria. It sends out runners hundreds of feet away and can vine up 50 foot oaks in a single bound choking them while it grows. This beautiful and invasive plant kills any tree or bush it climbs and leaves nothing but death in its path. I have seen the thick vines (imagine some of the woody vines the size of a child’s arm) wrapped around 30 foot Oaks and Pine Trees. You cannot control this plant the flowers produce seeds as well so what doesn’t run across the ground to root, the seed pods my germinate and you can have a forest of Wisteria within a few short years.
You cannot just kill it. You cannot just chop it down and think you are going to get off that easy. The roots of Wisteria are far reaching and as soon as you cut off one vine another will appear 30′ away. I met a gardener once who started her Chinese Wisteria in a galvanized tub. That did not work out so well because within 10 years the Wisteria took over a neighborhood in a neighboring subdivision. The neighbors were always cutting the vines from trees and even their homes.
I know this plant is sold at garden centers but DO NOT BUY IT! You cannot contain it and you will not be able to control it. If you must have it look for the American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) which grows in zones 5-9 and wraps itself around the host plant or arbor in a clockwise manner. This is how many can tell which Wisteria is native and which one is Chinese (Wisteria sinensis grows and vines up a tree in a counter-clockwise direction around the trunk of a tree). The American Wisteria also blooms a bit later than the Chinese but with careful pruning and shaping you should be able to contain this plant to a spot. Just build a heavy duty arbor or pergola in a sunny spot for it to climb in your garden or yard.
Do not be tempted to stop along the road and dig Chinese Wisteria up. Do not be tempted when the Chinese Wisteria is marked half off at the garden center. I can guarantee you that it cannot be controlled or contained once it is established. If you do not believe me, then take a drive down here in Virginia and ask anyone who has dead trees choked out by this beautiful and invasive plant what they have done to try and kill it.
Thanks for stopping and I hope I have dissuaded you to plant this very invasive monster.
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique
Note: the only way to eradicate this plant is to keep cutting the vines off the trees and cutting the vines that you find emerging from the ground. In a case like this, RoundUp or something similar could be used on the newly emerging vines and on the cut ends of the vines. Do not spray the Wisteria in the trees because it will be useless and dangerous to surrounding plants and wildlife. Suffocate the newly cut vines at the base of the tree and just keep killing whatever new plants emerge. In time you may be able to slow down the Wisteria but it will take some effort and some time. Good luck!