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14/06/2013 at 23:19

I saw a very informative answer to a question about clematis cuttings on here the other day - I had thought you could only propogate by layering them.  Is it possible to do the same or similar with wisteria?  A friend with a fantastic one has said I'm welcome to try, but I have no idea where to start.

14/06/2013 at 23:44

No personal experience with wisteria but ... 


Site 1:

Cuttings of wisteria need to be taken from the softwood. This is wood that is still green and has not developed woody bark. The cutting should be about 3-6 inches long and have at least 2 sets of leaves on the cutting. Wisteria cuttings root best if taken in late spring or early summer. Once you have the cutting, remove any sets of leaves found on the lower half of the wisteria cutting. These will be the main points where new roots will develop. Trim the cutting so that the lowest node (where the leaves you just removed were) are 1/2 -1/4 inch from the bottom of the cutting.


Site 2:

The cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches long and you can take them either late in the winter ("hardwood" cuttings) or in early summer, after the flush of new growth has slowed ("semi-hardwood"). Rooting hormone powder speeds the formation of roots. You'll need almost greenhouse-like conditions of bright light and high humidity.


Well, that's nice and contradictory, isn't it?

I think in general it's an early summer job, so you get a growing piece as a cutting and the cutting gets all summer to sort itself out while it's sunny and is a plant ready to be put in the ground in spring.

What they say about plastic bags and greenhouse conditions is what described in the honeysuckle thread:

Use a large plant pot.

Put short canes around the sides of it.

Fill it with moist but not wet compost.

Get a bucket (or vase, mug, coffee jar or watering can) of water.

Cut off a short length of growing stem with a few pairs of leaves, and immediately put the cut end into the water so it doesn't dry out.

If it'll take you a while to get the cutting to the bucket, take a longer cutting and cut off the bottom few inches under the water. Cuttings dry out from the cut end upwards.

Remove the lower leaves from your cutting. I stripped the outer bark off the bottom inch too. It'll try to heal, and how it tries to heal depends on where it finds itself.

You can add hormone rooting powder or other goop at this point, but I didn't bother and it still worked.

Transfer the cutting from the bucket to the centre of the pot of compost.

In some cases, this could be enough. Winter-flowering honeysuckle stem 18" long rammed 12" deep in the soft soil behind the compost heap has become a small shrub. However, the greenhouse thing helps. Your cutting has no root system, but it does have leaves, putting it at risk of drying out. You can't remove all the leaves or it'll have no source of power and CO2, and you can't soak the compost or it'll rot, so you raise the humidity around the exposed part to reduce evaporation.

A clear plastic bag put down over the canes and the pot and taped into place will hold in the moisture, saving your cutting from drying out.

Common advice is to give it a gentle tug to see whether it's rooted, but I knew mine had when I saw them producing new leaves.

If you want to take things a step further in caring for the cutting, you can include a little water dish on top of the compost in the pot to raise the humidity.

You can also, if you're really going for it, stick a drinking straw into the bag and blow warm, moist, CO2-rich air into the bag every day. That might be going too far, but hey, it may help.

15/06/2013 at 00:08

Well Charlie, thank you so much for looking all that up - I think I'll give it a random go or two, but I might stop short at trying to blow the bag up (reminds me of a startlingly unsuccessful attempt at trying to make peking duck the traditional way). I shall try some soon, and some in winter and if none of them show any signs of working revert to plan b (Garden Centre).  I am totally new to the world of cuttings - I've only just managed seeds!  Thank you again - I'll let you know if it miraculously works ...

15/06/2013 at 06:09

I thought wisteria were usually grafted...? I'd buy one, personally, and save home-propagation for stuff thats a) a bit quicker and b) you want loads of, rather than just the one. But I'm both greedy and really impatient, so perhaps not the best source of advice here. So I'll just shut up.

15/06/2013 at 06:52

Think I'd take the cuttings, and then buy a wisteria as well - that way the cuttings are guaranteed to strike and you'll be in a forest of wisteria - if you didn't buy one the cuttings would rot - Gardener's Law 

15/06/2013 at 16:13

The more I hear, the more appealing the garden centre becomes .... we are just down the road from Killerton (National Trust) House and although expensive, their plants are so healthy and the advice so good I don't think I can resist ....

15/06/2013 at 16:18

Perhaps I was just lucky,but I just collected a seed pod from the wisteria and potted it up last year.have small plant abot 8 inches tall.

15/06/2013 at 16:29

Wow!  I didn't even think about trying a seed - I'd be really proud of my baby wisteria if I were you!

15/06/2013 at 17:07

If you're growing a wisteria from seed I hope you're relatively young and have plenty of patience - wisterias grown from seed can take up to 20 years to bloom, whereas grafted plants  should flower within 2 or 3 years.  

But what a sense of pride you will have when it does flower 

15/06/2013 at 17:24

I too find growing anything from seed satisfying - I have half a dozen from last year (seed planted on edge in a pot on my windowsill in spring) but found that two of the young plants perished in the winter so may bring them into the cold greenhouse this year.  I'm not optimistic about seeing them flower (5 yers min I believe) but "better to tarvel hopefully...." as they say.

The seed was taken from pods on my wisteria after they had completely dried on the plant - they are quite big, two or three to each pod.


have fun!

15/06/2013 at 17:32

Zero patience, not much gardening skill, not that young!  Garden Centre it is!

15/06/2013 at 17:36

But maybe sow the seed too - for posterity and a jolly good conversation piece 

15/06/2013 at 18:00

aldi have some nice wisteria pants in today £9.99 today about 20 inch tall

15/06/2013 at 18:04

Aldi have some nice wisteria plants in today £9.99 about 20 inch tall.

15/06/2013 at 19:29

I.ll stick with my little plant and see what happens,nothing to loose as already have massive wisteria and 20 years does,nt sound that bad

15/06/2013 at 20:07

Were the plants in Aldi the dark mauve or the pale flowered ones?  I'd have to make a special journey there and it's the dark flowered wisteria I really want. Also, does anyone know how safe it is to plant wisteria against a house wall, as some of the older plants I've seen have a very thick trunk and branches, so I wondered if the roots could damage a house's foundations?

16/06/2013 at 10:50

£9.99? Wow. Homebase had a "new" purple-flowered one called Amethyst Falls for sale recently at £29.99. That's quite a difference.

16/06/2013 at 10:55

Air layering is the best method, it'll take about a year, but you can use any stem you like and use quite a long stem. Or layer a stem that's running along the ground (the ones you're supposed to remove). I've got a new 6ft standard growing from a layered stem. 

01/05/2014 at 09:37

Mines flowered for first time in 5 years! The locals are very jealous as you cannot get it here in Bulgaria!



01/05/2014 at 09:47

My layered cutting on the pergola is in flower. The original  plant on the garage wall is not. Mind you it did get murdered two years ago,when half of the apricot it was growing  up died. I think I will need to be a bit more diligent with the new shoots this year.

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