How to Grow Wisteria sinensis Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Chinese wisteria

Commonly referred to as Chinese wisteria or the Chinese Kidney bean, Wisteria sinensis is a flowering woody climbing tree from the family Fabaceae (Leguminosae: Mung beans and peas).

It is considered as an invasive plant in many areas, so only grow if allowed in your local growing area. If you are allowed to grow it then it can make a great plant to grow in areas where deer or drought occur.

Chinese wisteria plant
Chinese wisteria plant, photograph by Babij; CC.

Related to pea plants, Wisteria sinensis can grow close to 100 feet (30 m) tall and is usually cultivated due to its fragrance and vibrant white, violet, or blue colored flowers.

Plants are hardy to about -4°F (-20°C) and is able to grow in up to zones H6 and USDA zones 5 to 8.

Chinese wisteria

Chinese Wisteria photograph by Bri Weldon.

Showy blossoms appear in late spring and early summer. Flowers are a violet blue colour.

Wisteria can grow in several different ways. Although it is often grown on the side of buildings due to how well its vines can cling to surfaces and its heavy weight, it is also possible to grow in a tree-like fashion.

Initially from China, Wisteria sinensis started to be imported to other regions around the world by the early 19th Century.

In the United States, the plant is most prolific in the Eastern part of the country as it most closely matches the weather and soil conditions that it was originally grown in.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Chinese Wisteria

It can take years after planting a seed before flowers start to blossom, which is why it s common to purchase an already grown plant and have it transplanted into the garden.

Wisteria sinensis flowers in bloom
Close up of Wisteria sinensis flowers in bloom, image by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

In order to grow Wisteria sinensissuccessfully, the plant needs to have constant access to sunlight.

It should be grown in well-drained soil with lots of nutrients and be placed away from other plants as it can easily grow over other vegetation. The soil should be acidic.

The plant can easily infiltrate structures, making it highly recommended to grow it near something sturdy and away from residential areas.

Chinese Wisteria usually requires about one inch of rain per week to stay healthy.

Wisteria sinensis Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Wisteria sinensis
  • Common Name: Chinese wisteria, Chinese Kidney BEan.
  • Growing Zone: USA: 5 to 09
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Vine

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 180 to 360
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 480 to 600
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: Blue, Lavender, Purple, White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Spreading or horizontal, Variable height, Variable spread

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Quick
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist/Wet

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Medium
  • Propagation: Layering, soft- or hardwood cuttings, grafting
  • How to Prune: Regular pruning required
  • Pests: scale insects
  • Diseases: leaf spot, powdery mildew

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of: Deer, Drought
  • Best Garden Use: Arbor, Espalier, Pollard, Standard
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Closely Related Species: Japanese wisteria

  • Miscellaneous: Is not a native plant of N. America, Invasive, Naturalizing, Some parts are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy
  • Genus Detail: Wisteria
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

Wisteria sinensis alba
Alba cultivar of Wisteria sinensis, photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking; CC.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Wisteria sinensis . You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Cercis siliquastrum and California Redbud.