How to winter-prune wisteria

How to winter-prune wisteria

Winter-pruning wisteria makes for a better display come spring. We show you how to do it.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

Wisteria is a rampant climber that bears long vigorous shoots that turn into a ‘bird’s nest’, producing few flowers. By pruning in winter and again in summer, you will encourage the development of short spurs that carry the flowers in spring. Simply tie in new growth to extend the main framework over its support, then cut remaining long stems back hard. Do this any time in the dormant season – late October to March. To further restrict growth and encourage flowering, prune again in July.

How to prune wisteria in summer

Advertisement

You Will Need

  • Wisteria
  • Secateurs
  • String or twine
  • Ladder

Step 1

Check over the plant, tying in any long shoots that you need to extend the main framework and replace any existing ties that are cutting into the stems.

Winter-prune wisteria - checking over the plant
Winter-prune wisteria – checking over the plant

Step 2

Leave the short, stubby side branches with clustered buds as these are the flowering ‘spurs’. Only prune if cracked or damaged.

Winter-prune wistera – stubby side branches with clustered flowering ‘spurs’.
Winter-prune wistera – stubby side branches with clustered flowering ‘spurs’.

Step 3

Cut the longer stems with long and pointed buds as these are leaf buds.

Winter-prune wisteria - long leaf buds
Winter-prune wisteria – long leaf buds

Step 4

Prune all long sideshoots to just above the second or third bud at the stem base.

Winter-pruning wisteria – pruning sideshoots
Winter-pruning wisteria – pruning sideshoots

 

Advertisement

When pruning woody shrubs, trees, climbers and fruit bushes, it’s best to cut back to a bud that faces in the direction that you want the resulting shoot to grow. Cut at the same angle in which the bud is pointing and 3-5mm above it – if you’re pruning a large limb, take care to support the weight of the branch so it doesn’t split where you’re cutting.

Gardening gloves. Photo: Getty Images.