Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

American Wisteria

American Wisteria

Wisteria frutescens

Full to part sun; moderately wet to medium moisture level; best in moderately fertile loam but tolerates sandy, sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam and clay soils; slightly acid to neutral pH.

15-30 feet height x 4-8 feet spread; blooms May and June; lilac or purplish blue flowers; 2-4 inch long, knobby seedpods.

Growth Rate:  Fast

Maintenance:   Susceptible to a number of foliage-chewing insects and fungal diseases but none are significant.  Plants continually send up shoots from the base, which need to be routinely removed, otherwise turning into a messy tangle.  Requires little other care aside from light shaping in summer and a little thinning in winter.

Propagation:  Can propagate by seed or softwood cuttings.  Cuttings are preferred because it can take years to bloom from seed.

Native Region:  West Tennessee, lightly elsewhere

Vigorous, long-lived vine with shiny, dark green leaves, each leaf bearing 9-10 leaflets.  Flowers are in large, drooping clusters 6-9 inches long.  Individual flowers are nearly 1 inch long.  Flowers come in several waves over a 2-4 week period.  Much preferred and much less aggressive than the insidious Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis).  Full sun needed for best flowering, and too rich a soil results in too much leaf growth. Develops a thick, coiled trunk that requires sturdy support.  Do not use on a chain-link fence where stems will become hopelessly tangled and nearly impossible to remove.  Important butterfly larval food.


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