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Prune wisteria

Prune wisteria

Prune wisteria in January and in August for a waterfall of sweetly-scented flowers in early summer. It's hard to beat this elegant, stately climber in its full early summer glory. You'll find shades from pure white through classic pale lilac to a rosy pink in your favourite garden centre: as well as the classic Chinese wisteria, Wisteria sinensis, look out for Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) with dramatic racemes of flowers up to a metre long.

To get those fabulous flowers going at full throttle, wisteria needs pruning twice a year. Summer pruning mainly controls the plant's size, while winter pruning is essential to encourage short, flowering spurs for that cascade of colour. Here's how you do it:

  1. Once leaves are down you'll be able to see shape of your wisteria quite clearly. Identify the main framework stems: you'll be pruning the sideshoots that come off them.
  2. Snip back all sideshoots to 2-3 buds from the main stems, cutting just above a bud with a cut sloping in the same direction as the bud to prevent rain sitting on the wound.
  3. As you're doing this, check ties are sound and secure and aren't cutting too tight in to the stems: re-tie in any stems that need it.