Blue moon kentucky wisteria

Experience/insight re: Aunt Dee Kentucky Wisteria?

I’ll preface my comments by saying I have never grown an American wisteria – but do successfully grow both a Chinese and a Japanese wisteria as ‘trees’, and have read widely on wisterias in general. Peter Valder is considered one of the world’s experts on them and his book on wisterias is the best thing I’ve seen (IMO there’s a lot of nonsense written about them by people who’ve clearly never grown one successfully themselves!) Peter Valder (from Australia) appears not to have direct experience growing the American ones either but this is what he has to say about them:

‘Flowering as they do on current year’s growth, the American wisterias do not usually display their flowers well if grown on pergolas, though the long-racemed introductions of W. macrostachya may prove to be exceptions in this regard. In general, however, they are seen to best advantage against walls, around verandahs, over fences or as pillars on wooden or metal supports. Under these conditions they may be pruned to keep them within bounds at any time of year. However my experience with these plants is such that it would seem unwise of me to be dogmatic. I suspect, though, that two or three light prunings during the growing season may lead to greater floriferousness than a severe cutting back in autumn or winter.’

Aunt Dee is a W. macrostachya (macrostachya means ‘long spikes’) so is of the kind he’s saying would be suitable for a pergola. It is generally said that the long-racemed types display best on pergolas or grown as ‘trees’ with tall trunks so the flowers have space to dangle freely – how tall is your pergola? Could someone pass under it when the wisteria is in bloom without brushing through the flower racemes? (bees love the flowers!)

Checking information on various US Extension university sites, pruning after the spring flowering is generally recommended. From my experience with wisterias, I’d say wait until spring flowering is over and them prune the whippy, curly new growth back into the desired framework as often as needed during the growing season to keep it neat and promote flowering. I suspect that even these ‘new wood’ flowering wisterias may develop the short woody spurs that bear a lot of the flowers. Pruning the new growth back regularly certainly promotes the development of those growths in the Asian wisterias so I’d guess that it would be good for the American ones too.

The other thing I’d be sure to do is to remove and seed pods that you see after the leaves fall and the pods become visible. You really don’t want them to seed themselves around. That is probably as true for the American ones as it is for the Asian ones – and perhaps even more so as the American ones are said to be hardier and, one would assume, therefore more likely to germinate well from seed!

Blue Moon Wisteria Vine

The Fragrant, Reblooming Wisteria

Why Blue Moon Wisteria Vines?

Most types of Wisterias only bloom in the spring, but the Blue Moon Wisteria blooms in the spring and twice in the summer. When your neighbors’ Wisterias are done blooming, yours will brighten up the landscape twice more!
Large, fragrant blue blooms will cover your fence or trellis all season long, while their sweet floral fragrance will drift through your neighborhood. Basically, you’ll have the best yard on the block…for beauty and unmatched fragrance. Wisteria blooms will attract the attention of butterflies and passersby. Everyone will have to keep coming back to look at their elegant beauty again.
Plus, they don’t need much space to thrive. Blue Moons quickly grow on your fence, trellis, or even the side of your deck to fill your summer with tons of fragrant blooms.
Best of all? Blue Moons are easy to grow, adapting to different soils, drought, and cold with ease. In fact, Blue Moon Wisteria Vines tolerate temperatures down to -20 degrees! Plant a few around your garden, and watch them thrive. And though it may take a few seasons for the fullest blooms possible, the entire process, from planting to growing, couldn’t be easier.

Why is Better

Good look finding this reblooming variety at big-box or your local nursery! This is the only Wisteria of its kind. But when you order your Blue Moon from Fast Growing Trees, you not only get the month-to-month color and easy growth…you also get an amazing head start.

Your wisterias arrive with a strong root system, so they’ll be ready to quickly take off as soon as they’re planted.
This is the only reblooming wisteria, so they sell out fast! Order yours today, before they’re gone. Get the rich good looks of the Blue Moon for yourself!

Planting & Care

1. Planting: The ideal spot for your Blue Moon will be in almost any soil type as long as it is well-draining and any area with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.

Dig a hole that is three times as wide as the root ball and just as deep (if planting more than one, space the plants 10-15 feet apart). Gently hold the plant while making sure it’s vertical in the hole and backfill the hole with your other hand.

Wisteria may require staking. After you plant your Wisteria, drive your stake 6 to 12 inches down roughly 1/2 inch away from the trunk. Secure the tree with planter’s tape every 8 inches.

2. Watering: During your first year, an inch of rainfall per week is recommended which equals out to about 4 gallons of water weekly. Water your Wisteria in the morning or evening on hot, summer days to allow the plant to soak up the water before it evaporates. A slow trickling from the hose works best so the soil can absorb water without any runoff. After it’s established, rainfall will suffice for your Blue Moon.

3. Fertilizing: Your Wisteria will require little fertilizing. If you have poor or sandy soil, use a small amount of fertilizer like formula 5-10-10 or 5-10-5. Feed your wisteria about 3/4 cup per square yard each year during the spring.

4. Pruning: Wisteria needs to be pruned twice a year, typically once in late winter and again in mid-summer. Winter pruning is to prepare the flowering spurs for the upcoming season. Summer pruning keeps the long, whip-like shoots under control encouraging them to become flowering spurs.

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Kentucky Wisteria Plants: Caring For Kentucky Wisteria In Gardens

If you’ve ever seen a wisteria in bloom, you will know why many gardeners have a penchant for growing them. As a child, I remember my grandmother’s wisteria creating a beautiful canopy of dangling pendulous racemes on her trellis. It was a sight to behold, and to smell, as they were wonderfully fragrant – just as enchanting to me now as an adult as it was back then.

There are about ten known species of Wisteria, with numerous cultivars associated with each that are native to the eastern United States and eastern Asia. One of my personal favorites is Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya), the type my grandmother grew. Read on to learn more about caring for Kentucky wisteria vines in the garden.

What is Kentucky Wisteria?

Kentucky wisteria is notable because it is the hardiest of wisteria, with some of its cultivars rated for zone 4. The majority of Kentucky wisteria (such as cultivars ‘Abbeville Blue,’ ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Aunt Dee’) feature a color that falls in the blue-violet spectrum, the one exception being the cultivar ‘Clara Mack,’ which is white.

Kentucky wisteria vines bloom in early to midsummer with tightly packed panicles (flower clusters) typically reaching 8-12 inches (20-30 cm.) long. The bright-green lance-shaped leaves of Kentucky wisteria are in a pinnately compound structure with 8-10 leaflets. The formation of 3- to 5-inch (7.6 to 12.7 cm.) long, slightly twisted, bean-like, olive green seedpods begins in late summer.

This deciduous woody stemmed twining vine can grow 15 to 25 feet (4.5 to 7.6 m.) long. Like all twining vines, you will want to grow Kentucky wisteria vines on some support structure such as a trellis, arbor or chain link fence.

And, to set the record straight, there is a difference between Kentucky wisteria and American wisteria. While Kentucky wisteria was originally regarded as a sub-species of American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), it has since been classified as a separate species due to its longer blooms and because it has a higher cold hardiness rating than American wisteria.

Growing Kentucky Wisteria

Caring for Kentucky wisteria is easy but getting it to bloom may prove to be a challenge. Such is the nature of wisteria, and Kentucky wisteria is no different! It is best to improve your odds from the onset, meaning you may want to avoid growing Kentucky wisteria from seed. Wisteria plants started from seed can take 10-15 years (even longer or perhaps never) to bloom.

To considerably shorten the time to flowering and a more reliable path to flowering, you will want to either obtain or prep your own cuttings, or acquire good quality plants from a certified nursery.

Your Kentucky wisteria planting should occur in the spring or fall and be in soil that is characteristically moist, well-draining, and slightly acidic. Kentucky wisteria in gardens should be in a location that is full sun to part shade; however, a full sun location receiving at least six hours of sun each day is preferable as it will help encourage better bloom growth.

In addition to proper lighting, there are other ways to help elicit the blooming of Kentucky wisteria in gardens, such as a spring feeding of superphosphate and routine pruning in summer and winter.

Even though wisteria is considered to be drought tolerant, you will want to keep the soil consistently moist during the first year of growing Kentucky wisteria to help the root system get established.

Try A Tamer Wisteria

The flowers of ‘Blue Moon’ Kentucky wisteria resemble those of its Asian cousins, but the plant is much better behaved. Steve Bender

Wisteria vines, for the most part, are not for the wimpy gardener. About 99.9% of the plants sold are Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)—thuggish Asian imports that frequently escape managed gardens. They climb the tallest trees, spread at light speed, and their muscular, twining stems can bend iron, crush an arbor, or throttle small trees to death. Still, we plant them for their pendant chains of beautiful, fragrant spring flowers. We’re so dumb.

Grumpy, are there any wisterias that are pretty and play nice? Why, yes, and they’re both native. Let me tell you about them.

Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya) is found in the south-central United States. It’s more cold-hardy than the Asian types and suited to USDA Zones 3-9. It also blooms later than they do—in May or June, depending where you live—so the blooms are seldom zapped by a late frost. Fragrant, lavender-blue racemes up to 12 inches long cascade from its stems. The selection ‘Blue Moon’ (above) blooms up to three times a year once established, the spring bloom being the heaviest. It can grow 25 feet tall rather quickly, so don’t think you can just plant it and forget. A yearly pruning keeps it in check.

Image zoom ‘Amethyst Falls’ American wisteria is perhaps the best wisteria for the small garden. via


American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is another native worth a look. Think of it as a smaller, slower-growing version of Kentucky wisteria. It blooms at about the same time, but its flowers look quite different. Rather than chain-like, the 6-inch long racemes are bunched, looking like purple corncobs cut in half. They’re not quite as sweet-smelling as those of Kentucky wisteria. ‘Amethyst Falls,’ a popular selection, repeat blooms like ‘Blue Moon’ does, but it’s a less aggressive plant with thinner stems that won’t damage wooden arbors or trellises. It’s suited to USDA Zones 5-9 and needs little pruning.

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For best flowering, plant either vine in full sun and well-drained soil. Both set seed, so prune off the beanlike seed pods before they mature if you don’t want seedlings popping up.

Kentucky wisteria

Size and Method of Climbing

Kentucky wisteria can grow 20 to 30 feet long. It is a twining vine. Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support. This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Plant Care

Full sun is preferable, but this vine will also tolerate partial shade. A moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil is best. Avoid compaction.
Wisteria often do not produce flowers for the first 5 to 10 years. To encourage flowering use nitrogen fertilizer sparingly and use a fertilizer that provides phosphorus (follow label directions).
Proper pruning will also encourage flowering. After flowering, prune excess growth back to 6 inches. These pruned stems will continue to grow. In winter cut them again so that each stem has two to three buds left. Proper pruning not only encourages flowering, but it also helps to manage size and shape of the vine.
Wisteria vines are heavy and require sturdy supports.

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to North America, mostly in southern states. Native to a few counties in Illinois.

Leaf description

The opposite leaves are pinnately compound, with 9 to 11 leaflets.

Flower description

Purple, pea-type flowers in dangling clusters. The clusters are 8 to 12 inches long and fragrant. Flowers are produced in early summer.

Fruit description

Fruit are similar in appearance to pea pods. Seeds are poisonous to eat (as are other parts of the plant).

Cultivars and their differences

Aunt Dee Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya ‘Aunt Dee’): Flowers are light purple with a light fragrance. This plant is considered slightly more hardy than the species and may perform well in zone 4.

Blue Moon Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya ‘Blue Moon’): Blue-purple flowers. This plant is considered slightly more hardy than the species and may perform well in zone 4.

Clara Mack Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya ‘Clara Mack’): White flowers.

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