Rooting Wisteria Plants: How To Propagate Wisteria From Cuttings

Rooting Wisteria Plants: How To Propagate Wisteria From Cuttings

By: Heather Rhoades

In addition to propagating wisteria seeds, you can also take cuttings. Are you wondering, “How do you grow wisteria from cuttings?” Growing wisteria cuttings is not difficult at all. In fact, it is the easiest way in how to propagate wisteria. You can grow wisteria cuttings from leftover prunings, rooting wisteria plants to share with everyone you know.

How to Propagate Wisteria Cuttings

Taking Wisteria Cuttings

Propagating wisteria from cuttings starts with getting the cuttings. As mentioned, a great source of cuttings can come from pruning wisteria, but you can also take wisteria cuttings from the plant specifically for rooting wisteria plants.

Cuttings of wisteria need to be taken from the softwood. This is wood that is still green and has not developed woody bark. The cutting should be about 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm.) long and have at least two sets of leaves on the cutting.

Wisteria cuttings root best if taken in late spring or early summer.

Preparing Wisteria Cuttings for Rooting

Once you have the cutting, remove any sets of leaves found on the lower half of the wisteria cutting. These will be the main points where new roots will develop. Trim the cutting so that the lowest node (where the leaves you just removed were) are 1/2 to 1/4 inch (1 to 6 ml.) from the bottom of the cutting. If there are any flower buds on the cutting, you can remove these.

Rooting Wisteria Plants

Prepare a pot with well-draining potting soil that has been thoroughly moistened. Dip the rooting end of the cutting into rooting hormone. Using a finger or a stick, make a hole in the potting soil, then place the wisteria cutting in the hole and gently press the soil in around it.

Cover the pot in plastic, either by placing plastic wrap over the top of the pot or by placing the whole pot in a plastic bag. It is important that the plastic does not touch the cuttings, so you may want to prop the plastic away from the cuttings with sticks. The plastic helps to hold in humidity, which increases the success rate of propagating wisteria from cuttings.

Place the pot of wisteria cuttings in a place where they will receive bright, indirect light. Check the soil frequently and water when dry to the touch. The cuttings should be rooted in about four to six weeks.

Growing wisteria from cuttings is easy when you know how to propagate wisteria correctly.

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Propagating Wisteria - Growing Wisteria Cuttings - garden

Wisteria grows in my area of zone 4, but although I have not tried to grow any yet. Blue moon is bred to survive the cold winter temperatures that we experience in South Dakota.

Propagating the wisteria vine is easy to do and there are several different ways to do this. You can take cuttings, dig up the roots or use the layering method. No matter which you method you choose to start your cuttings, growing a wisteria vine will grace your yard with a hanging canopy of green leaves and flowers.

Clip A Healthy Young Shoot

Clip a healthy young shoot off the vine. Use the ones with new growth or semi-mature stems. Do not take any that is mature or has very hard bark on the outside. These will not be as easy to grow a root system. Use a sharp knife or clippers to cut the shoot. If the ends are ragged or torn, it makes the piece more susceptible to fungus or disease. Take off some of the lower leaves. Now you can propagate this cutting in different ways.

A piece of 12 to 18 inches long placed in a glass of water, will help roots to form. You can add a little rooting to the water. This may help it root faster. Place the bottom end of the stem in a glass of water. Put in a sunny window. Leave in the water until roots form. It is a good idea to change the water occasionally because it begins to smell.

Rooting medium will also help roots to form. Take a cutting of new growth about five inches long. Dip one end in rooting hormone then tuck the bottom third of the stem into the rooting medium. Water lightly. Place this in a plastic bag to keep the humidity high and help keep it warm. If you see mold beginning on the soil or plant, leave the bag open for several hours.

When you see shoots beginning to grow, that means that the roots are forming as well. Wait a week or two, then you can leave the plastic bag or cover off for several hours of the day.

Another method is to dig up some of the roots. Cut a section of the roots off and replant that part of the root in the place where you want your wisteria to grow. Dig up a sucker. This will already have some roots on it. Just replant it where you want and keep well watered until it's established.

Layering is finding a one-year-old runner extended along the ground. Find where it has been soil bruised. Leave the shot tip above ground, but cover the rest with soil. Approximately a year later, roots will form. Sever the section and replant where you want the wisteria to grow. Another way is to put soil over the top of the runner in a section and place a brick over the top to anchor it down. A new plant will emerge in this section.

Sever the section and replant where you want the wisteria to grow. Another way is to put soil over the top of the runner in a section and place a brick over the top to anchor it down. A new plant will emerge in this section. You can sever it off the original plant and put it in the ground where you want.

Best Time to Take Cuttings

Late winter or late summer is the best time to take cuttings. It is best to do it before the new growth starts.

It takes several years for your new wisteria to bloom. If grown from seed, it can take up to 10 years for it to bloom. Do several cuttings at one time, because not all of them will produce roots.

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How to Root a Wisteria Start

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Wisteria (Wisteria spp.) might be trained as a small tree or allowed to climb up a trellis or arbor structure, but their drooping cascades of purple flowers make them easy to recognize no matter the form of the plant. You can take a cutting from an existing wisteria in spring through midsummer, or in winter, and grow it as a new plant in your garden. Propagation by cuttings saves money over buying new plants at garden centers, although you must first root the wisteria start. Wisteria grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.

Take a softwood cutting of the wisteria plant in spring through midsummer cut a section of the new growth tips that includes several leaf sets. Remove the lower two sets of leaves from the cutting. Alternatively, you can take a hardwood cutting in winter, but softwood cuttings tend to be easier to root. You can root about six to eight cuttings in a 12-inch planting pot.

Mix equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or perlite in a 12-inch planting container fill the container to within 1 1/2 inches of the top of the planter. Water the potting mixture until evenly moist, but not wet.

Dip the cut ends of the wisteria plant into water and shake off the excess. Dip the cut ends into plant-rooting hormone powder. You don't have to use rooting hormone, but it helps encourage faster rooting.

Cut several 1/4-inch wooden dowel rods to 6 to 8 inches in length, using a hacksaw.

Poke six to eight 2- to 3-inch-deep holes into the potting mix, spaced 2 to 3 inches apart in the center of the container, using one of the dowel pieces. The number of holes depends on the number of cuttings.

Place one cutting in each hole in the planter, and press the potting mixture firmly around the cutting to ensure good contact between the soil and cut end of the wisteria start.

Insert the dowel rod pieces 2 to 3 inches deep in the potting mixture, spaced 3 to 6 inches apart around the edge of the planter. Add two or three dowel rods between the cuttings.

Fit a large, clear plastic bag over the planter pot loosely to create a greenhouse effect for the wisteria cuttings. The dowel rods support the plastic bag above the cuttings, allowing room for growth, and helping to retain moisture in the perlite mixture.

Place the planter in a warm location with filtered sunlight avoid direct sunlight. Water the cuttings as needed to keep the soil moist, but not wet. To avoid over-watering, water only when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Monitor the wisteria cuttings for new growth when new growth or buds appear, the wisteria has grown roots. This can take several weeks. Remove the plastic bag after new growth is visible and roots are formed. Plant transplants any time after threat of frost has passed. If you took cuttings in spring or summer, this usually means moving each wisteria start to a new pot, growing them indoors over winter, and transplanting outdoors in spring when the threat of frost has passed.

Growing American Wisteria

Wisteria plants can be purchased or seeds can be planted. However, remember that from seed, wisteria will take more than seven years before the first flowering. Many times, the seed-grown plants never flower at all. Something to think about if you want anything close to immediate gratification from your wisteria. Usually plants are grown with cuttings taken from a flowering plant. It is best to purchase the plant from a reliable nursery or while in bloom.


Much of my love of gardening revolves around the anticipation of a single ephemeral event: jasmine's sensual arrival to shout spring hillsides fleetingly fringed with jacaranda and wisteria’s short-lived lilac lace.

To sit or stand underneath a flowering wisteria vine in full bloom, gazing through the mauve veil of flowers, inhaling the scent, and listening to the bees is bliss. A wisteria in full beautiful bloom escaping up a random tree will stop traffic, but as we mention here you don't need a garden to grow one.


Wisterias are vigorous, quick-growing vines and Olympic-level training is sometimes required to contain their over-exuberant growth, encourage a good shape and show off the long curtain of flowers. Wisterias can be trained into any shape or style — as waterfall-shaped shrubs, lollipop standards, over sturdy pergolas and archways, along verandas or fences, framing windows, and as bonsai. The key is to grow them tall enough to allow their long flower sprays to hang freely without becoming entangled.

Limited space? Wisteria is a happy camper in a pot on a sunny balcony. We’ve had great success with wisteria trained to grow as a lollipop in a large container – the size of half a wine barrel seems perfect. Select a firm stake or wheel as support. Secure the stem with ties and remove all side shoots until the main stem reaches 1.5-3m (depending on the look you want), then allow the crown to develop. Once the plant starts flowering (after two or three years) it should be pruned immediately after flowering to keep the growth in check.

Softens windows too. Photo - g215/

Make a choice

There are Chinese, Japanese and silky wisteria to choose from. There are at least four varieties of the Chinese wisteria, Wisteria sinensis, available in Australia: the common mauve a darker, reddish purple called 'Amethyst' a white called 'Alba' and another white, 'Jako', which is more strongly scented.

There are dozens of varieties of the Japanese wisteria, but most of them differ little from one another. By far the most famous is 'Macrobotrys' (also known as W. floribunda longissima), a name which means 'big cluster'. This name is appropriate as this climber produces pale mauve flowers in clusters often a metre or more long. For this reason it is best grown on a high pergola so that the mass of flowers can be admired from below. Other varieties that are well worth growing are: 'Violacea Plena', a double mauve 'Kuchibeni', palest lilac pink 'Honbeni', a stronger pink 'Royal Purple', a deep mauve 'Lawrence', which is sky blue rather than mauve and 'Shiro Noda', a truly magnificent pure white with long clusters. Look out for the deep indigo flowers of 'Black Dragon' (also known as Wisteria floribunda ‘Royal Purple’), whose long scented racemes grow to around 40 cm. This variety will bloom in its third or fifth year.

The silky wisteria, Wisteria venusta, is less familiar but just as stunning. The white variety, 'Shiro Kapitan', has large, heavy-textured flowers that have a much sweeter scent than those of the Japanese and Chinese wisterias. There is also a mauve form, 'Murasaki Kapitan' a really beautiful pink, 'Showa Beni' and 'Okayama', which is a deeper mauve than 'Murasaki Kapitan' and is more strongly scented.

Hardy, fast-growing, spring-flowering deciduous climbers need sturdy support. Vines can take five years to flower so buy in flower to guarantee bloom and colour choice.

White and Purple really make this entrance sing. Photo - Michael Warwick/


Wisteria need a little winter chill to flower well and gardeners have succeeded in flowering them in coastal areas as far north as Brisbane. In very cold areas, the Japanese and Silky wisterias are the best choice as they can stand lower temperatures than the Chinese kinds.

Wisterias aren't fussy about soil. Keep them well watered after planting until they become established. Apply fertiliser in spring and midsummer until the vine is the size you want. After that it is rarely necessary to do anything other than prune them, as they are free from diseases and pests. The exceptions are those grown under harsh conditions, or in containers. These will need regular applications of water and fertiliser: the plant leaves will let you know what is required.

Caution: overfeeding will produce leaves instead of flowers pruning later than January will remove flowering shoots.

If I ever wanted to wear a bridal veil, I would want white wisteria. Photo - Fotografiche/


After planting, tie the new season's long shoots to the required positions and remove unwanted shoots as they appear. Removing the tips of the long shoots once they have reached the required length will encourage the development of side shoots. Trim them to size as well. Once the plant has reached the preferred size and shape, all new shoots should be cut back to two or three leaves. This encourages the development of the short spurs on which many of the flower buds appear. Suckers and unwanted shoots are best removed when they appear and are young and soft.

The general maintenance of a wisteria usually involves a major prune in late spring or early summer after the first new growth has appeared. This is the time to take any drastic pruning action, if required. Follow up with a less arduous trim about six weeks later, followed by a tidying up of the long shoots produced subsequently. You might also wish to remove the seedpods in winter. This schedule will leave plants in excellent shape to display their blooms in the spring.

Visit Wisteria

Sissinghurst’s wisterias cascade over rosy brick walls, clamber over the pergola and drape themselves over the Priest’s House. Visit in May-early June.

Bud burst. Photo - Sandra Ross

This tunnel made of 150 pink, lilac and purple wisterias is in the Kawachi Fuji or Wisteria Garden in Kitakyushu, six hours from Tokyo. Visit in late-April to mid-May.

If there was heaven on earth it would surely be right here. Photo - SoulAD/

Nooroo, in the mountain village of Mount Wilson, is the former home of renowned wisteria-phile Peter Valder (who wrote the book on the subject). The tennis court filled with majestic potted specimens is a must-see event in October.

Watch the video: Planting Wisteria Cuttings.