Wisteria floribunda Alba (W. longissima Alba)
Wisteria floribunda Alba is a species of plant native to Japan, thus colloquially called Japanese Wisteria, and belongs to the pea family Fabaceae having one of the longest flower racemes of any wisteria reaching about 50-60cm in length. It can be a number of years before the flowers start to form but when they do they are very aromatic with a scent similar to grapes. Wisteria floribunda Alba is a deciduous climbing plant with a gnarled habit of growth many metres long set off beautifully by the cascading foliage and blooms, sometimes needing a support such as trellis because of the weight of the growth. This is wonderfully described by the specimen on the Japanese Bridge in Claude Monet’s garden in France which is absolutely amazing. Grown over a frame such as a pergola or against the wall of a house it will live to be admired for many years.
A hardy plant, Wisteria floribunda Alba will survive quite low temperatures but prefers a sheltered site in full sun or partial shade in any reasonable, moist but well-drained soil. It can eventually grow to 9-10 metres tall with a spread of about 6 metres but will require regular pruning to keep it in shape and encourage flowering in late spring to early summer.
Wisteria floribunda Rosea
The Japanese Wisteria or Wisteria floribunda is as the name suggests a native climbing plant of Japan that was imported to America in the early 19th century. The Rosea is one variety of Wisteria floribunda with long racemes of flowers, up to 60cm in length, a delicate scent and pale rose pink in colour which would make a stunning addition to any garden with room for it to develop. Growing in a clockwise fashion the woody stems will almost certainly need support in the form of a framework such as a pergola or straining wire and although not necessarily attractive through the winter months this is more than made up for by the volume of cascading foliage and flowers in late spring and early summer. Wisteria floribunda Rosea is also occasionally used as the subject for bonsai.
As a long-lived plant, up to and sometimes over 50 years, Wisteria floribunda Rosea is slow to establish and it can be several years before the first blooms appear. It will flourish in a sunny site but will tolerate a little shade in moist, reasonable soil and if sheltered can cope with fairly low temperatures. If space allows it can grow to over 30 metres long but needs to be pruned each year to be kept into shape and to encourage flower growth for the following season.
Wisteria floribunda Macrobotrys
Wisteria Macrobotrys is of the floribunda family which originates from Japan and is also known as Japanese Wisteria. Although grown in Japan for many hundreds of years it was only introduced to the USA in the early1800’s. Now grown almost worldwide and instantly recognisable for the long racemes of highly fragrant flowers. This particular variety produces blooms some 100cm long in the most stunning lilac tinged with blue-purple colour. All the floribunda Japanese Wisteria will wind their way up a trellis or wall with some support in a clockwise direction. The sweetly scented flowers appear before the leaves unfurl in June.
This stunning plant is fully hardy and will achieve heights of 28 feet if given strong support wires attached to a wall. They make a superb show if grown along a pergola as the long racemes hang down showing them to their best advantage. This very decorative showy climber is best grown as a specimen without competition from other climbers. They are best purchased as grafted plants to enjoy the flowers earlier as seed grown plants can take many years to produce flowers. They must have well prepared soil and full sun to bring out the best of the scent and beauty of the racemes. Being tooi generous with the feed will only encourage foliage not flowers so best to be light handed when feeding. Pruning a couple of months after flowering to 5 or 6 new leaves will encourage new bloom and stop the plant becoming too unruly.
Wisteria Black Dragon
This stunning and very special variety of Japanese Wisteria is the only true double-flowered wisteria in existence and dates back to the 1870’s. The delicately scented violet purple double flowers, breath-taking when in full bloom, are enticing to bees, butterflies and birds. A show stopping display of long plumes of cascading double flowers, each can be up to 60cm long, occur in late spring and early summer. The leaves appear at the same sort of time as the flowers on this vigorous deciduous twining vine, followed later by brown bean like seed pods in summer persisting until winter. An easy to grow Wisteria, Black Dragon twines like all Japanese Wisteria in a clockwise direction, with its vine growing to several inches in diameter over time. It is perfect grown to cover a fence, trained up a pergola, over arbours, used for bonsai and can be grown in the form of a small standard tree. If grown as a small standard tree, they can be a triumph of graceful majesty with the green foliage pruned to shape and the unique flowers of this variety draping delightfully down from the foliage.
Wisteria Floribunda ‘Violacea Plena’, is best grown in full sun and moist but well drained soil. This fairly fast-growing vine, possibly up to 9 meters is best pruned a couple of months after flowering. It is best trained onto a support from a young age with careful pruning and training to create the long term desired effect hoped for.