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Without proper care, a Wisteria can damage your house or the support structures they are growing up, but if managed correctly, it’s more likely they won’t. Wisterias are strong and 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 Wisterias climbing their outer walls, they simply look stunning and create the most amazing displays when in full flower and the good news is, these houses seem to be fine. In general, as long as you keep your Wisteria 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.
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
Wisterias grow incredibly quickly and will need pruning twice a year to keep them to the height and width that fits in with your garden landscape and house. If they are left unchecked and not properly trained up a support structure, these plants can climb underneath, sliding 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, because of their weight, 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 good practice because it will also promote a successful show of flowers, however, it is important to be aware that any incorrect pruning can result in no flowers being produced the following season. See my guide on how to prune Wisteria for information about this necessary task.
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 will look out for other things it can cling to instead.
What to do
Ensure your Wisteria has strong and appropriate supports to cling to on the part of the house you want it to grow up. And then prune and train it so that it stays in that framework. Be aware before planting that Wisterias aren’t low maintenance climbers and you will need to keep them in check.
As I have already mentioned, this is one, fortunately, 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 instead. The footings of your house will prevent the roots from travelling under the house.
What to do
Don’t worry, they don’t cause damage to the footing of buildings.