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Chinese Wisteria Wisteria sinensis

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
wis-TEER-ee-uh sy-NEN-sis
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

This plant is problematic and alternatives should be considered.  Please see the suggestions in the left-hand column.

Chinese wisteria is a deciduous, climbing, woody vine in the Fabaceae (bean) family and native to China. This plant has rapid growth and is considered an invasive weed. Wisteria will grow 10 feet to 20 feet high and 4 feet to 30 feet wide.

Chinese wisteria needs full to partial sun and moist clay to sandy soil with good drainage. It prefers slightly acidic soils and can grow on wet or dry sites, forming very dense thickets. Wisteria needs space and sturdy supports. Propagate by grafting, layering, or stem cutting. Once planted, this plant does not take well to transplanting.  Choose your site wisely. It can be slow to become established. Flowers may not produce until the 2nd or 3rd year after planting, sometimes much longer. Regular pruning is required for shaping and to control rampant growth and invasive tendency. Pruning the roots in the fall may lead to more abundant flowers the next spring. 

In spring, 6 to 12 inch racemes of mildly fragrant blue-violet pea-shaped flowers bloom almost simultaneously,  producing a very showy display. The flowers are edible. After blooming, drooping clusters of velvety seed pods persist into fall. Stems become twisted, trunk-like, and massive over time.

Quick ID

  • Twining, woody vine with pinnately compound leaves
  • Pea-type flowers in pendulous chains in spring
  • Persistent, brownish, bean-like pods, 4-6 inches     

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This invasive plant has no significant insect or disease problems, but a late spring frost can cause damage.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Satellite Dish Fountain
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Sapphire'
  • 'Jako'
    White flowers
  • 'Prolific'
    Typically flowers at a earlier age than other varieties.
  • 'White Diamond'
'Blue Sapphire', 'Jako', 'Prolific', 'White Diamond'
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#vines#twining#deer resistant#deciduous vine#fantz#twining vine#perennial weeds#weedy vine#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blue Sapphire'
  • 'Jako'
    White flowers
  • 'Prolific'
    Typically flowers at a earlier age than other varieties.
  • 'White Diamond'
'Blue Sapphire', 'Jako', 'Prolific', 'White Diamond'
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#high maintenance#fast growing#aggressive#vines#twining#deer resistant#deciduous vine#fantz#twining vine#perennial weeds#weedy vine#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Wisteria
    Species:
    sinensis
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Grafting
    Layering
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Distribution:
    Eastern USA
    Wildlife Value:
    Very few wildlife species use wisteria because of the large seed size, whoever does attract butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Defines Paths
    Fragrance
    Screening
    Textural
    Wind Break
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    Flowers edible raw or cooked (stems removed).
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Vine
    Weed
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Dense
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    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
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    After bloom, drooping clusters of velvety seed pods persist into fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    6-12 inch racemes of mildly fragrant blue-violet pea-shaped flowers bloom almost simultaneously, producing a very showy display. Inflorescence is a raceme, terminal or axillary, pendulous, 4-8 inches.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, 7-13 leaflets; leaflets elliptic to ovate, acute, broad cuneate, entire, pubescent on midrib beneath.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stem is brown-gray, woody, twining.
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Invasive Species
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea, depression
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Lectin, wisterin glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems