Growing Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’

Growing Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’

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Wisteria Amethyst Falls is a dwarf cultivar of wisteria and far less vigorous that the Chinese and Japanese varieties commonly sold in garden centres and nurseries. I personally grow Amethyst Falls in pots as it’s perfect for this as is such a compact variety. That being said, it grows up to 5m tall and 3m wide.

Its blooms on strings of racemes 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 come the green seed pods that have a velvety texture. And then the foliage becomes yellow in the autumn.

Other varieties of wisteria have clusters of blue, white or pink flowers. Make sure you purchase wisteria plants that are grown from a graft from an existing wisteria. Wisteria grown from seed can take up to 20 years to flower, while most wisteria grown in grafts begin to produce blooms within three to four years after planting and can usually be purchased already flowering.

Growing Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls' growing in pots and in bud

Choosing the right soil

As with most plants, wisteria prefer 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 of pH as long as there’s no standing water. If 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 better when grown in pots.

Plant in full sun or dappled shade

Wisteria love the sun so plant yours on south- or west-facing walls. They tolerate and even prefer full sun but they will also grow ok 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.

Planting

The best time to plant wisteria is in the spring or the autumn but you can plant them at any time of year as there 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 came in. Water the plant in well. If growing them in a pot as a standard, stake them for support. If growing 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 trellis.

Growing Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls' on a support frame

Provide 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 or wires or a decorative arch or pergola. These plants can be trained to grow up a tree for a stunning visual look. Or 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 the wisteria will happily climb up those.

Watering

If the soil the wisteria is in is light or sandy, check often for dryness as they need watering more often in these conditions. Be especially vigilant about this with new plants or in dry spells as it can effect bud development and cause issues with flowering.

Feeding

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 plant 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.

Pruning

Prune 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.

Solving problems

Wisteria Scale Insect and How To Control Them

When growing wisteria, if you notice that your plant is having problems, check out my guide that deals with this and tell you what to do about these issues. If your plant is generally poorly, start with Wisteria pests and diseases as well as wisteria scale 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


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