Choosing the best spot to plant something in your yard isn't always easy. Do you have a wisteria you plan on growing but don't know if it will like the shade? Do wisteria plants usually prefer full sun exposure? Well, we've done some digging and have the answer for you below!
In general, you want to plant a wisteria somewhere with either full sun or partial shade. Depending on where you live, wisteria may prefer growing in partial/dappled shade, so this can sometimes benefit your plant.
However, you don't want to plant wisteria in full shade, as it won't get enough energy from the sun to grow and stay healthy. Too much shade can also encourage water problems in your wisteria's soil, so aim for a bit of sunshine.
As we start this post, we will cover all things planting wisteria and let you know how much sun one needs. Whether you're new to the species, have a wisteria in your garden, or have other related questions, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!
Can I Grow Wisteria In The Shade?
Although you can grow wisteria in shadier locations, you want to ensure your plant still gets a few hours of sunlight daily. Wisteria prefers full sun exposure in more moderate climates, while hotter regions can call for more shade in the afternoon.
These gorgeous vines need the sun's rays for energy, so your plant can become ill or stop growing without enough exposure. Additionally, a wisteria can handle dappled shade, meaning sunshine on and off throughout the morning and afternoon.
The key is having your vine somewhere between 4 and 6 hours of daily sun, although you might be okay with more/less depending on the weather.
Sometimes too much sun can be as harmful as too little since every garden will be unique.
Which Wisteria Variety Does Best In Shade?
If you have a shadier garden, that doesn't mean you can't grow a wisteria. One variety that prefers more shade than others is 'Wisteria Sinensis,' making it a great option to consider.
With that said, this wisteria will need indirect/direct light for around 6 hours daily to flower. That means you can't plant it somewhere with zero sun exposure.
As we said above, wisteria needs the sun for energy, which means flowers. Like any plant species, the sun supplies your wisteria with essential nutrients, ultimately promoting growth, blooming, and long-term health.
The general theme with this vine species is that your plant should get around 6 hours of sunlight daily. That goes for all varieties—you might as well consider that before planting one.
Where Is The Best Place To Plant Wisteria?
Typically, American wisteria varieties are hardy all the way down to USDA zone 5. Therefore, you can successfully grow one between zones 5-11, which covers a significant portion of the United States.
This flowering vine prefers moderate weather, meaning freezing or scorching temperatures won't usually be good long-term. Where you live also affects how much direct sunshine your wisteria needs, which can vary by state/territory.
However, one wisteria variety that is recommended for colder regions is the 'Kentucky wisteria,' which is hardy down to USDA zone 3.
If you're in a place with freezing winter conditions, that may be your best bet. One drawback of living in the cold is that many flowering species can't survive through winter.
As it can be problematic for your garden, make sure to research your plant's cold tolerance before you place it into the ground.
What Is The Best Month To Plant Wisteria?
It's usually best to plant your wisteria between October and April. Typically, the weather conditions will be moderate during this period, which your vine will appreciate.
As we covered earlier, wisteria prefers moderate weather—anything super hot or cold can impact its early development. For example, if you live in Michigan, it might be better to wait until the winter passes to plant wisteria.
In contrast, someone in Florida or Southern California may want to get their wisteria in the soil before winter, around October. Everyone's weather is different, so this needs to be tailored to each garden.
You also want to ensure you plant wisteria in fertile soil, ideally facing a south- or west-facing wall or pergola. Remember, even if it's warm in the summer where you live, your wisteria needs 6 hours of light each day to stay healthy.
How Fast Do Wisterias Grow?
When it comes to its growth rate, wisteria is a faster-growing vine species. Although they can take longer to bloom and mature, it's normal to see wisteria grow upwards of 10 feet annually.
Of course, your vine will need ideal conditions if you want to see this type of growth, but that shouldn't be difficult if you follow our recommendations.
According to Purdue University, rapid growth will occur once a wisteria establishes itself in the ground. You don't need to wait long as this could be within the first 1-2 years after you plant your vine.
On the other hand, wisteria can take a few years to develop enough to produce flowers. Even if your vine is sprawling, it might not bloom for the first couple of years.
One thing that affects your plant's flowers and growth is the sun. Generally, the more sunshine a wisteria receives, the faster it will mature and flower.
How Can I Make My Wisteria Grow Faster?
For those struggling with wisteria, there are many ways to encourage growth. The first thing we recommend is ensuring nearby trees and foliage are pruned so the sun can reach your vine.
Another factor to check out is that your wisteria has space to sprawl. For example, if your vine is growing up a trellis or on the side of your home, ensure nothing is blocking its view of the sun or path for growth.
Wisteria is a rapid grower. If it has no space and sun, it has no reason to become stunted.
On top of that, if a wisteria doesn't have fertile soil, that can also negatively affect growth. So, we recommend using nutrient-filled dirt and keeping your vine well-watered throughout the year.
Your plant may also benefit from occasional pruning and shaping, promoting new growth.
Especially if your wisteria doesn't get enough sunlight, it can become leggy and less full towards the center/top. Again, you have to be cautious since this pruning doesn't need to be severe.
Does Wisteria Come Back Every Year?
Yes! Wisteria is usually a perennial species, meaning it will come back after each winter. As we discussed earlier, wisteria is hardy down to USDA zone 5 (3 for Kentucky wisteria), which makes it unafraid of the cold.
Instead of dying like an annual, your wisteria will become dormant if the temperatures drop below freezing. Wisteria is also very resilient, and if the winter or summer is extreme, it'll pull through.
With that said, it is a good practice to prune your wisteria a bit before winter, which should become your annual overwintering schedule.
You don't need to get crazy with your trimming, but try cutting back your wisteria to save energy during colder, harsher weather.
If you have your wisteria growing in a pot, you can also move it indoors during the cooler seasons, which means you can enjoy it for longer.
How Big Will My Wisteria Get?
One of the benefits of growing wisteria is how big they get. For American varieties, you can expect a wisteria to reach heights of 20-30 feet at full maturity, which is incredible.
Especially if you train your plant to grow up a structure or trellis, it's safe to assume it will follow the path from start to finish. Again, you want to avoid letting wisteria get "leggy." Occasional shaping can help with the aesthetics of your vine.
Furthermore, the flowers on wisteria tend to grow in clusters, about 4-6 inches long. If you've never experienced wisteria during its blooming season, it's truly spectacular and makes having this plant even more worthwhile.
How Much Water Does Wisteria Need?
You generally want to give wisteria about an inch of water each week. Since this vine doesn't like to sit in moisture, you don't want to overdo it with your watering.
However, this will all come down to where you are; very hot, dry climates may require more frequent watering. The same goes for cooler, moister climates where your wisteria may not even need water each week.
As we said above, every wisteria is different because not all growing conditions will be the same.
Before you find the perfect watering routine, this may take trial and error. Don't be alarmed if your plant tells you it's time for more or less hydration.
Regardless, it's essential to feel around the base of your vine before each watering or use a meter to ensure you aren't drowning your plant.
To Wrap Things Up
Whether you have wisteria in your yard or want to grow it, it's always good to know its sun preferences. From what we found, you can grow wisteria in partial shade, although it needs around 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.
Without enough sun exposure, your vine can become unhealthy and stop growing/blooming, which you want to avoid. Besides, wisteria is very fast growing—we recommend training one up a wall or trellis to give your vine somewhere to go.
On top of that, your wisteria needs about an inch of water weekly and nutrient-rich soil to stay healthy and happy, so try and be mindful of those factors in your garden.
Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related garden articles below!