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Wisteria frutescens

Native Plants

American Wisteria

2 Photos


American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is a woody, twining, deciduous vine that easily grows to 25’ tall, though it is not as aggressive as the exotic Chinese or Japanese wisteria. American wisteria has alternately arranged, pinnately compound leaves that are slightly shiny, 7-12” long, and a bright green backdrop for the flowers. 

Blooming occurs on new wood in April-May, shortly after foliage has emerged and before it has fully developed. Flowers are pea-like, arranged in large, dense and drooping clusters 6-9” long. They range in color from lilac to bluish purple and are lightly fragrant. In summer, flowers mature to smooth, 5” bean-like seed pods. American wisteria prefers a rich loamy, slightly acidic, moist and well-drained soil in full sun, and plants can also take periodic flooding. Consider the planting site as this vine dislikes being transplanted. To maintain a desired size or shape, prune immediately after flowering; pruning also encourages flowering.  

American wisteria is best displayed on a support structure such as a pergola, fence, or arbor, and would combine well with virgin’s-bower (Clematis virginiana) or Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) as they are equally vigorous. For a stand-alone planting, pair with a mature eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and allow it to scramble the tree’s height. American Wisteria is a nectar source for a variety of butterflies and is the larval host for Silver-spotted Skippers, and it is deer resistant. Zone 5-9.    

More Details

  • Plant Type
  • Sun/Shade Conditions
    part-shade, sun 
  • Foliage Character
  • Soil Moisture
  • Flowering Period
  • Soil PH
    adaptable, slightly-acidic 
  • Flower Color
    blue-violet, lilac-purple 
  • Summer Foliage Color
  • Fall Foliage Color
  • Fruit/Seed Color