Will wisteria damage my house?

Will wisteria damage my house?

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Without proper care, wisteria can damage your house or whatever they’re growing up, but it’s more likely they won’t if managed correctly. Wisteria are strong, fast-growing climbing plants with substantial stems and roots. These huge and heavy climbing plants can live for many many years, in other words, they will outlast most of us, including myself.

Many older houses have huge wisteria climbing their outer walls, and they look stunning and create the most amazing shows when in flower. The good news is, these houses seem to be fine. In general, as long as you keep them correctly pruned, they will not do damage above ground. This means keeping them clear from gutters, piping etc. Below ground, which is most homeowners’ concern, they do produce a very strong root system. However, they don’t often cause any damage to the walls or foundations. The root system will usually go around anything hard rather than force its way through like some plants and trees can.

Very large and old wisteria growing up large house walls

Below is more information on what they can damage and how to avoid it. It’s also worth mentioning that wisterias can grow very well in pots, so this is a good way to grow them if you are concerned about the roots damaging a structure.

Left to grow unchecked

Wisteria grows fast and need pruning twice a year to keep them to the height and width that fits in with your garden landscape and house. Left unchecked and not trained up a structure, these plants can climb underneath siding onto your roof, and into your gutters, causing damage and blockages. It can also grow into small cracks in plaster and up a drainpipe.

When they’re tall and wide, they can cause damage to weak fences or other standalone structures too.

What to do

Your wisteria needs constant care and twice-a-year pruning, this is also good practice to also promote a good show of flowers, but incorrect pruning can also cause no flowers. See my guide on How to prune wisteria for information about this necessary task.

Structure/support

Wisteria growing along wires that have been fastened to wall to provide a structure to climb on

Wisteria doesn’t have suckers like some other climbing and creeping plants. They hang on to things by winding tendrils around them. This is why they need wires going horizontally across your house to grow up. If they don’t find these for support, the plant looks for other things to cling to.

What to do

Ensure your wisteria has a strong and appropriate support to cling to on the part of the house you want it to grow. And then prune and train it so that it stays in that framework. Wisteria are not low maintenance climbers if you want to keep them in check.

Roots

As I have already mentioned, this is one you don’t have to worry about. Wisteria roots only grow where there is soil and don’t tend to push through solid structures and will grow around them. Your house’s footings keep the roots from travelling under the house.

What to do

Don’t worry, they don’t cause damage to the footing of buildings.


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