February 18, 2018
March is almost here, so it's about time for the wisteria to bloom in our coastal counties, quickly followed by the rest of the state. Wisteria is one of those plants that puts on quite a show, and is a good indicator that spring has officially sprung. It’s hard not to love the clusters of purple and white blooms suspended on the vines. Very quickly it seems like a riot of color from the fragrant and abundant flowers. But never allow wisteria to grow in a random fashion. It can take over and even kill larger trees in our yard. When kept under control, wisteria can be an essential Mississippi garden plant. Wisteria can be trained on a fence or as a shrub using judicious pruning, much like training used for growing grape vines. The older trunks can be extremely twisted and can be many inches in diameter. The consistent pruning will help to control the vigorous growth and actually promote more flowering each spring. Wisteria makes great landscapes plants because of they are hardy and can be extremely long lived. Providing a sturdy trellis or pergola for this climbing vine can provide beneficial summer shade. The plant climbs using twining stems that grab hold of any structure available. I love the wisteria covering the ancient pergola at Monmouth Historic Inn in Natchez, especially when it’s blooming. The only thing disappointing about wisteria is the flowering doesn’t last very long, but wow! What a show! I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll see you next time on Southern Gardening.