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
Wisteria frutescens, American Wisteria Vine Vine and Close-up of Flowers Opening Height: 15–30 feet Spread: 4–8 feet Bloom Color: Lavender, light violet-blue Characteristics 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 Attributes 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 Growing and Maintenance Tips  Soil Requirements: Slightly acidic, humus-rich  Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade  Water Requirements: Moist, WetBest flower production in full sunSpecific guidelines for when and how to prune Use as a climber on arbors, fences, posts, walls  Hardiness: USDA Zones 5–9 *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.” Excellent Replacement for Wisteria floribunda - Japanese Wisteria W. sinensis - Chinese Wisteria

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