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Similar but less problematic plants:
Wisteria Wisteria spp. flower
Wisteria frutescens is often confused with:
Sophora affinis Sophora affinis
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Clematis crispa Clematis crispa
Cornus amomum Cornus amomum
Rhododendron canescens Rhododendron canescens

Kentucky Wisteria Wisteria frutescens

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
wis-TEER-ee-ah froo-TESS-enz
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Wisteria frutescens, commonly called American wisteria, is a counterclockwise twining deciduous woody vine that grows to 40’ or more. It is typically found in moist thickets, swampy woods, pond peripheries and stream borders and is native from Virginia to Illinois south to Florida and Texas. It is commonly found on the coastal plain of North Carolina and rarely in the Piedmont. American wisteria is not as aggressive a spreader as Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria). Both Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) and Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria) twine in a counterclockwise direction but Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) twines clockwise.

It is best grown in slightly acidic, humusy, moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Full sun is needed for best flowering and it cannot grow in full shade. The vines may produce flowers by the second or third year after planting, but it may take longer. Vines need regular pruning(s) in order to control the size and shape of the plant and to encourage flowering. Consult a pruning guide for specifics on the initial training of vines and the types of pruning that can or should be done for these plants. Any drastic pruning is best carried out in the spring, immediately after flowering. An application of fertilizer in early spring can also help stimulate flowering. Choose growing sites wisely because plants dislike being transplanted. The plant is known for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Propagation from seed is very slow (measured in years), while shoots and cuttings are much faster.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: 

Susceptible to honey fungus and a number of foliage-chewing insects and other fungal diseases. There are a number of reasons that vines may fail to flower including frost damage to flower buds in winter, too much shade, plants too young (especially seed grown ones), improper pruning or overfertilization.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Wild Side- A Shady Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba', 'Amethyst Falls', 'Magnifica', 'Nivea', 'Swantly Purple'
Tags:
#bees#purple#fragrant#showy flowers#deciduous#blue#wildlife plant#purple flowers#blue flowers#apvg#cpp#NC native#vines#native garden#native vine#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#apvg-vg#problem for dogs#problem for horses#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Alba', 'Amethyst Falls', 'Magnifica', 'Nivea', 'Swantly Purple'
Tags:
#bees#purple#fragrant#showy flowers#deciduous#blue#wildlife plant#purple flowers#blue flowers#apvg#cpp#NC native#vines#native garden#native vine#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#apvg-vg#problem for dogs#problem for horses#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Wisteria
    Species:
    frutescens
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    Virginia to Illinois south to Florida and Texas
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for Zarucco Duskywing and Long-Tailed Skipper butterflies. Butterflies nectar at the blooms.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat, drought, and soil compaction tolerant.
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Narrow, flattened, smooth seed pods (to 5” long) which ripen in late summer. Pods typically split open in fall. Displays from June to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Fragrant, pea-like, lilac-purple or blue flowers in drooping racemes to 6” long bloom in April-May after the leaves emerge but before they fully develop. Limited additional summer bloom may occur. Flowers can also be white, or have a dark burgundy, or even have hints of yellow or green.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Compound, odd-pinnate leaves (each leaf typically with 9-15 lance-shaped leaflets) are deep green.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    Nausea, frequent vomiting, abdominal pain depression, and diarrhea can result from eating 1 or 2 seed pods.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Saponin called wisterin, Lectin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds