Did you know that august is the perfect time to give your wisteria a summer prune?
Wisteria is the quintessential climber for the English cottage garden. A well-grown wisteria is an absolute joy in May and June when the beautiful, scented pendants of flowers drape from the branches in a breathtaking display. But often gardeners find these climbing plants a little daunting. The idea of all that pruning and training just feels far too complicated. It’s a shame because it’s not as tricky as you might think – in fact wisteria is actually very easy to grow. With correct care these long-lived twining climbers will reward you with many years of pleasure in your garden.
How to prune Wisteria
Just the thought of wisteria pruning can send many gardeners into a panic – but it needn’t be difficult if you understand a few basic principles. Unlike many plants, Wisteria needs to be pruned twice a year – once in late winter (February) to prepare the flowering spurs for the forthcoming season, and again in mid-summer (July to August). Summer pruning controls those long, whippy shoots that are heading off into the distance, and encourages them to become flowering spurs instead.
During the first two years, the aim of pruning is to train wisteria to create a framework of permanent stems. This involves selecting and tying in specific main shoots to the supporting wires and cutting back any unwanted growth. After 2 or 3 years the plants will build up a strong branching habit which forms the ‘skeleton’ of your wisteria.
Important note: Correct training and pruning of wisteria will definitely encourage better flowering, but it’s worth remembering that these plants are surprisingly forgiving, and vigorous growth the next season will give you a second chance if you get it wrong this year.
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.