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The Wisteria Amethyst Falls is a dwarf cultivar of Wisteria. It grows far less vigorously than the Chinese and Japanese varieties commonly sold in garden centres and nurseries. I personally grow Amethyst Falls in pots because it’s perfect for this, being that it is such a compact variety. That being said, it grows up to 5m tall and 3m wide.
It blooms on strings of racemes that grow down from vines in masses of blue-lilac flowers from late spring through to mid-summer. You can tell this variety of Wisteria by its sweet scent. After the flowers have bloomed they are followed by green seed pods that have a velvety texture. In the autumn the foliage becomes yellow.
Other varieties of Wisteria produce clusters of blue, white or pink flowers. We highly recommend that you purchase Wisteria plants that have been grown from a graft of an existing Wisteria. The reason for this recommendation is that Wisterias that are grown from seed can take up to 20 years to flower, while most Wisteria grown on grafts begin to produce blooms within three to four years after planting. At the right time of year, they can usually be purchased already flowering.
Choosing the right soil
As with most plants, Wisteria prefers to be planted in moist, well-drained soil with lots of nutrients. They can handle sandy soil as long as you add potash to it to make up for a lack of potassium. In general, Wisteria plants aren’t particular as to soil type or pH as long as there’s no standing water. If you are growing them in pots (which this variety is perfect for) I recommend a soil-based compost such as John Innes potting compost. This holds moisture much more successfully, which is important when they are being grown in pots.
Plant them in full sun or dappled shade
Wisteria loves the sun, so plant yours on the south- or west-facing walls. They tolerate (and even prefer) full sun but they will also grow okay in dappled shade. Ideally, they need six hours a day of direct sunlight. If there’s some shade in their location, Wisteria will still grow well but you won’t get as many flowers.
The best time to plant Wisteria is in the spring or the autumn, but you can plant them at any time of year as they are usually sold in pots. Always check over plants for signs of damage, or pests and diseases before planting.
Place the root ball of the Wisteria in the ground at the same level as it was in the pot it was supplied in and water the plant in well. If you are growing them as a standard plant in a pot, stake them for support. If you are growing your Wisteria against a wall, tie the stems to galvanised wires to encourage the plant to grow in the direction you want it to. You can also grow them along a trellis.
Provide a support structure
Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ are strong climbers and can reach over 5m high and 3 meters wide, or even larger once established. Make sure to provide them with support in the form of a trellis, wire or even a decorative arch or pergola. These plants can be trained to grow up a tree to create a stunning visual look. Alternatively, you can train it up a post and then along a wire to form a hedge-like border.
Unlike creepers, Wisteria doesn’t have sticky pads but twines around its support. Fasten horizontal wires of galvanised steel into the wall or fence at 45cm intervals and your Wisteria will happily climb up those.
If the soil the Wisteria is in is light or sandy, check often for dryness because they will need watering more frequently in these conditions. Be especially vigilant about this with new plants or in dry spells as it can affect bud development and cause issues with flowering.
I always feed my Wisteria in the early spring. In soils that have low potassium levels (e.g. sandy soils) add extra potash to the soil or dig in plenty of organic matter into the soil. Rose or shrub fertilisers, which are rich in potassium and magnesium, are also suitable for use with Wisteria. I usually feed them with a tomato feed whilst they are in flower.
You will need to prune your Wisteria twice a year – the first time in July or August and then in January or February before the new growth starts. Please see my article How to Prune Wisteria for more details.
When growing Wisteria, if you notice that your plant is having problems, check out my informative guides which deal with this and tell you what to do about your particular issue. If your plant is generally poorly, start with Wisteria pests and diseases as well as the Wisteria scale guides, followed by Wisteria problems and what to do about them. If your Wisteria has yellow leaves or is wilting, you can learn more about this here.
If you are worried about planting a Wisteria next to your house, you can read this guide here