Wisteria is a genus of deciduous climbing vines in Pea family, Fabaceae (formerly Leguminoseae), comprising ten species. Two of the species are native to the southern United States and the rest native to Eastern Asia. Wisteria was named in honor of an anatomy professor at University of Pennsylvania, Carpar Wistar ( 1761-1818).
Wisteria is one of the most beautiful of all climbing plants. It produces long racemes of scented, pea-like flowers in late spring to early summer. The color of flowers can be either white, pink, lilac-blue, bluish purple or purple. Wisteria vines climb by twining their stems either clockwise or counter-clockwise round any available support such as copper or aluminium wires, trellis, arbors and pergola, where they will look best during blooming.
Wisteria sineses (Chinese wisteria) and Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria) are two species of wisteria that are typically grown in home gardens. The Chinese wisteria is more popular due to its flowering habit. The plant which can grow to 9m tall has flower clusters of 30cm long, appear in spring or early summer and may be follow by seed pods. The flowers will open before the foliage expanded. Individual flowers in the cluster will open all at once for a very striking and showy display. The flowers are lilac-blue and fragrant. Chinese wisteria ( W.sinensis 'Alba' ) has very fragrant white flowers. Chinese wisteria may bloom within three to four years after planting.
Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) is not as vigorous as Chinese wisteria, also has clusters of flowers of 30cm long but unlike Chinese wisteria, individual flowers open gradually from the base of the cluster to the tip. The flowers are fragrant and open in summer. Japanese wisteria has yellow foliage color in autumn.
In order to bloom well, wisteria need to be plant in sun or partial shade, and well-drained soil. As mature plant are quite heavy, some type of support is neccessary. Propagation is by layer in autumn. Pest and disease are aphids and honey fungus.