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I am looking to plant a couple of wisteria plants in order to train up the front of my house which is a north-northeast facing wall. I think a wire trellis would be the most suitable one since it is fine and difficult to see. My intention is to train the trellis so that it creates a 2 metre tall stem/trunk and then start branching and spreading from the top of the ground floor window - upwards.
I am not experienced in building a trellis and although I have read/heard about various materials needed such as yurnbuckle, vine eye and galvanised wire, I haven't got a clue how to start building it and where each part goes. Can anyone help with advise please? An idiots guide would be appropriate in my case.
Horizontal wires will be enough, you don't need trellis as such. Does this help?:
Come back with any questions you may have.
I'm Sorry to pore cold water on your idea,but positioning your wisteria North to Northeast is the worst positioning that you could place it in. Wisteria needs as much sunlight and heat as possible, it will not flower very well either. Please look up planting advise before you continue with your venture.
Bob that link provides sound advice however it doesnt mention anything regarding turnbuckle. Does that mean it is not neccessarily required?
Terry: I was also a bit doubtful regarding planting it on a North facing wall however there seem to be a few threads on the net where people say that it will grow albeit slower than when planted on a South or west facing wall. So I thought it may be worth a try.
You can put a turnbuckle at one end of each wire. They are used to tension the wire and are useful if you can't get it tight enough by hand (which can by tricky/dangerous if you are up a ladder!) However, if you use several vine eyes along each wire to help support the weight of the wisteria (which will be considerably increased when it is wet and windy), a turnbuckle is not strictly necessary. Personally, I'd drill holes and use rawlplugs, putting in a vine eye every metre or so. Make sure you buy long vine eyes so that there is room for the vine to grow in between the wall and the wire.
Even if you find it doesn't flower, you could grow a clematis through it to provide colour. Many varieties of clematis will grow happily on a North-facing wall:
My gorgeous wisteria is growing on both sides of a wall - one side faces east north east and it flowers very well! (Although it flowers even better on the other side !). I just used horizontal wires on vine-eyes - it works fine. The only issue that I have is that I didn't use strong enough wire when I planted it nine years ago, and now the wires are bending a bit under the weight! I'd advise planning for the future...
The trick for flowers is to get the pruning right. I'm sure you know about that - if not, then just post a question here and lots of people will be only too happy to advise!
Bob, thank you very much. that sounds like a good plan.
Rosie thank you for the feedback on your experience and especially for mentioning the pruning. I certainly do need plenty of advice regarding pruning since I am a novice (although enthusiastic) gardener.
My other question is relating to growing the wisteria: Could I grow a stem/trunk first to a height of around 1m and then let the wisteria branch through the trellis or do I have to let it branch form near enough ground level?
On training and pruning, I'm sure others on this board are more expert than me but here is what I think you need to do.
Wisteria forms two sorts of shoots: shoots that turn into long leafy branches, and shoots that turn into short stumpy spurs off the long branches. It is the short stumpy spurs that form the flowers, so you want lots of them. You can persuade it to form the sort of shoot you want by pruning - wisteria is a very obliging plant which will generally try to do what you want it to do (hee hee, famous last words).
The other thing you need to bear in mind is that wisteria gets energy from its leaves drinking up the sunlight; and that it flowers best when its woody stems have been allowed to bake in the sun during the summer. So you need to strike a balance between forcing it into your desired shape and allowing it to grow enough leaves to feed itself and grow strong; but not too many leaves such that they cast all the woody stems into deep shade.
So...if your plant is a real baby, I would suggest you identify its main 'upright' and tie it in nicely to form the beginning of the main 'trunk'. For its first year or so, I'd let it form a few side branches wherever it wants, just so it has a chance to get some leaves on it. Once it has formed a pair of branches at the level you really want (above your windows), train those branches firmly along in the direction you want them to go. From then on, it is a regular pruning job twice a year, as follows:
In summer, tie in the growing main stem and its main branches (until they are long enough for you!); but prune all the side-shoots that form on the branches (hope that makes sense) to about 18 inches. The idea is to let them put a few leaves on over the summer but at the same time encourage them to become the short stumpy spurs rather than just growing in length. At this stage you could prune all the lower-down shoots that you don't really want back to a few inches too - its lovely when it puts on flowers low down on its stem.
In winter, prune all those sideshoots - the ones you took back to 18 inches - back even further - to just three or four inches, pruning to just above a bud. This reinforces your message to the plant that these are meant to be the flowering spurs!
Eventually you are aiming to end up with a clear framework of horizontal branches off the main upright trunk, with every branch covered with short flowering spurs. It takes a few years but it's very rewarding because you can really see progress every year....and it is SO worth it in the end!
Does that make sense? Hope so. I'm sure you'll get a much better set of instructions in any gardening book - or google for it online. Best of luck - wisteria is a wonderful plant, enjoy it!!
Rosie: Thank you ever so much for taking the time to write the detailed advice. It does make very much sense indeed. I am aware that a north facing wall is not the ideal place and that a wisteria can take a few years to train however I am happy with that. Even if the amount of flowers is not as abundant as it would have been on a south facing wall that is fine with me.
I will most likely combine it with a nice clematis variety that grows on a North facing wall and that should add some more nice colour to the whole set-up.