Wisteria frutescens, American Wisteria

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The wild native wisteria is a climbing vine with chains of richly colored, sweetly fragrant flowers, although not as dramatic or as rampant as its Asian cousins. This member of the Pea family is native to wet forests and stream banks of the southeastern United States.*

Print Version: Wisteria frutescens, American Wisteria MGNVorg Wisteria frutescens


Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets


Tags: Climbing, twining, woody deciduous vine, Pinnate leaves bearing 9-15 pointed oval leaflets, Erect to pendant violet-blue racemes from April to August; flowers at raceme base bloom first, Flat, smooth, bean-like pods develop after flowers fade and split open in fall
Yellow to golden autumn foliage, Smooth, gray-brown stems; twines clockwise, Tolerates drought, seasonal flooding; dislikes being transplanted; deer rarely damage, Begins blooming when vine is a few feet long and only on new wood after plant leafs out, Seeds are poisonous; harmful if eaten in quantity, Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, Wisteria floribunda – Japanese Wisteria, Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade W. sinensis – Chinese Wisteria, Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Best flower production in full sun, Specific guidelines for when and how to prune *It is adventive (non-native, escaped from cultivation) in DE’s Coastal Plain and endangered in PA where it is clustered mostly in the southwestern corner. In VA, it is rare as a native in the southern and central Coastal Plain and rare as an escape throughout. It is found in Fairfax County but that is probably an escape of the Midwest variant, “macrostachya.” Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9