The wisteria bonsai tree. A fragrant beauty.....
Welcome to our guide on the wisteria bonsai tree!
The wisteria (also spelled wistaria) is an excellent outdoor choice for bonsai, and one that adds a unique fragrance to your collection!
As a deciduous climber, the wisteria tree remains relatively free of pests and disease and can develop thick trunks very quickly! They are native to eastern USA, China, Japan and Korea and are considered to be invasive in the wild, mostly due to their rapid growth and climbing abilities.
The Chinese Wisteria is the most favoured type of wisteria bonsai tree, artists favouring their gnarled appearance, amazing purple and blue colours, and of course, their fragrance.
The best way to grow a wisteria is from cuttings, or seed, but, seeds take a long time to flower and will test your patience! A wisteria grown from cuttings will grow quickly and vigorously, leaving you with more time to consider styling techniques and care regimes.
Wisteria has nitrogen fixing capability (provided by Rhizobia bacteria in root nodules), and thus mature plants may benefit from added potassium and phosphate, but not nitrogen
Soil, Lighting & Watering
The wisteria bonsai tree enjoys a loam-based soil with good drainage, but also with good moisture retention properties. Ensure you pot your wisteria in a deep pot. As a little extra tip, sprinkle bonemeal on top of the soil at the beginning of summer to promote stronger flowering.
Wisteria enjoy full sunlight to promote flowering, especially in spring. Make sure you allow shelter too, by placing your tree in shade if full sunlight is experienced for a long period of time, or conversely if winter extremes occur.
Water regularly throughout Spring. For wisteria, try to water twice a day (morning and evening) during spring and summer and sit the pot in a dish of water. Be careful though as the wisteria is prone to branch dieback! Ensure you regularly check that the plant is not sitting in a dish of scummy water!
Due to Rhizobia bacteria, the wisteria bonsai tree has nitrogen fixing capabilities. This means that you should use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen, but one that contains potassium and phosphate.
Feed your wisteria bonsai tree every 7 days after it has flowered. This is substantially more than the average bonsai, but the wisteria needs it!
Your wisteria will only need repotting every 2-3 years, at the start of Spring. Like most bonsai, remove a third of it's roots - no more!
Pruning & Wiring
Wisteria tend to shoot flowers on older, shorter shoots. Your tree will be happier if you prune back shoots to only 2 or 3 leaves after flowering in Spring. Also, you can keep sacrificial, long shoots that will force flowers to form closer to the base of the branch. Remove sacrifical shoots at the start of the next growth season.
All pruning must be done at the start of Spring, and due to the wisteria's rapid growth you must ensure you maintain the plant's shape. Do not allow the tree to become unruly, and try to imagine the shape you ultimately want, and prune accordingly. Follow our pruning guides to help you!
Wire your tree at the beginning of spring using thicker gauge wire. Like most bonsai, try to wire as loose as possible to avoid wire marks.
You can go for whatever style you like with a wisteria bonsai tree, but we feel this type is most suited to informal upright, cascade and literati.
Leave wisteria bonsai tree guide and head back to our Bonsai Species Guide O-Z!