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Wisteria bonsai care Guide

Wisteria bonsai care

Wisteria bonsai tree



Country of Origin : China and Japan
Bonsai Styles : Informal upright,slanting, semi-cascade, cascade, root-over-rock
Zone : 4 – 10

When in flower, Wisteria bonsai makes one of the most beautiful flowering bonsai.

The pea-type flowers appear in hanging clusters.

This plant produces flowers in early summer or late spring. Long scented (sweet-smelling) racemes of white, blue, violet or pink flowers appear in abundance, so much so that they virtually obscure the beautiful bonsai tree. At this early stage, the foliage is just emerging.

The flowers of this bonsai tree are so large that the bonsai tree is styled to create the illusion of a weeping tree, where the arrangement of the flowers gives an impression of drooping branches.

A wisteria bonsai has an attractive woody trunk and thin spreading branches. As this exceptional bonsai tree ages, the branches and the trunks become more characterful. It is suitable for informal upright, slanting, semi-cascade, cascade, and root-over-rock style, and medium to extra-large sizes.

Generally, two varieties are used to make wisteria bonsai trees – Japanese wisteria (Wisteria fioribunda) and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis).

What is the difference between Japanese and Chinese wisteria bonsai?

Japanese and Chinese wisteria bonsai are both popular choices for bonsai enthusiasts, but they have some differences in their characteristics.

  1. Growing zone: Japanese wisteria is suitable for zone 4-10. Chinese wisteria is suitable for zone 5-9.
  2. Appearance: The Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) has longer flower clusters compared to the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis). The flowers of the Japanese wisteria also bloom after the leaves have grown, while the Chinese wisteria flowers bloom at the same time as the leaves.
  3. Hardy: Chinese wisteria is considered hardier than Japanese wisteria, with better resistance to cold temperatures.
  4. Growth habit: Chinese wisteria has a more vigorous growth habit than Japanese wisteria, with longer and thicker stems. As a result, it requires more frequent pruning to maintain its shape.
  5. Fragrance: Both species of wisteria are known for their sweet fragrance, but some people find that the Japanese wisteria has a stronger scent.

Both Japanese and Chinese wisteria bonsai are beautiful and rewarding to grow, but they have some differences in their appearance, hardiness, growth habits, and fragrance. The choice between the two will depend on your personal preference and the growing conditions in your area.

Both varieties can be a bit difficult to flower every year.

For all other bonsai tree species you can grow, please read : Types of bonsai trees

Best location to keep Wisteria Bonsai

Wisteria trees thrive in full sun. It is critical, however, that their roots are placed into moist, cool and fertile soil that is shaded.

Hence keep this bonsai in a place where the leaves are exposed to the sun but the bonsai container is shaded.

You can also spray some water on the soil and the pot to keep it cool and moist.

These trees are not suitable for making an indoor bonsai.

Winter protection for Wisteria is not necessary because the plants are hardy. Protect the plant, however, from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Move the bonsai to a protected shed in case the temperature falls below 23°F (-5°C). Continue reading How do you take care of a wisteria bonsai in the winter?

Take special care that in freezing weather, the soil is not saturated with water.

Although the wisteria tree doesn’t make a good indoor bonsai, it can survive pretty well in a properly ventilated cool greenhouse. However a constant temperature of around 50°F (10°C) will be required.

For more information on how to keep your outdoor bonsai thriving in different seasons of the year, please read seasonal care for bonsai trees and outdoor bonsai tree care.

Can you keep wisteria bonsai indoors?

While it’s possible to keep a wisteria bonsai indoors, it’s not ideal for the plant’s health and growth. Wisteria bonsai require plenty of sunlight, fresh air circulation, and consistent temperature and humidity levels to thrive. Indoor environments can often lack the ideal conditions for a wisteria bonsai, which can lead to stunted growth and other health issues.

If you do decide to keep a wisteria bonsai indoors, make sure it’s placed in a location with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and good air circulation.

You may also need to supplement the plant’s light with grow lights to ensure it gets enough light to grow and bloom. Additionally, make sure to monitor the plant’s moisture levels carefully, as indoor environments can often be dry and lacking in humidity. Please read indoor bonsai tree care for more info on how to take care of an indoor bonsai tree.

As a whole, it’s best to keep a wisteria bonsai outdoors whenever possible, where it can receive the ideal growing conditions it needs to thrive.

Refer sunlight requirements for indoor plants for more indoor gardening ideas. Also, refer to do bonsai trees need sunlight for more indoor and outdoor bonsai location ideas.

Propagation of Wisteria

Wisteria tree can be propagated by using hardwood cuttings in late winter and early spring. Softwood cuttings can be taken in spring or midsummer. Continue reading How to grow wisteria bonsai from cutting.

They can also be propagated by sowing seeds. But this is generally not preferred as the plants take a lot of time (sometimes many years) to come to an age to flower. Continue reading How do you germinate a wisteria bonsai from seed?

These trees can also be propagated by grafting in early spring or air layering in summer.

Watering Wisteria Bonsai

The wisteria bonsai needs plenty of water throughout the growing season, especially when it is flowering.

How often should you water a wisteria bonsai tree?

The frequency of watering a Wisteria bonsai tree depends on various factors, such as the size of the tree, the size of the pot, the type of soil, and the growing conditions.

Typically, wisteria bonsai prefer to be kept moist but not waterlogged. It is important to allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions to prevent root rot.

As a rule of thumb, wisteria bonsai should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. It is important to water the plant thoroughly, allowing the water to soak through the soil and drain out the watering holes from the bottom of the pot. You can simply water heavily several times during warmer, drier weather.

Alternatively, if you are dealing with very hot days, you can place the bonsai pot in a shallow round tray or bowl of water so that the roots can absorb water through the drainage holes. There should be enough water in the dish to last the entire day. However, this can cause root rot and possibly the plant’s death if the roots are left permanently in water.

Quick tip : It has been noted that some people have difficulty getting their Wisteria to bloom. This can be caused by dry roots. In the summer, standing the bonsai pot in a dish of water, which allows water to seep through the drainage holes, can be the solution. Continue reading how to promote flowering in wisteria bonsai tree.

You can also use a deep pot so that the soil can contain as much moisture as possible.

By ensuring proper supply of water, the wilting of leaves can be prevented.

During winter, keep the compost just moist. Do not place the pot on a water tray at this time.

As it is always stated, you should listen to the plant regarding what it needs. By experience you will come up with the proper watering frequency.

Read watering bonsai tree for more details about immersion technique.

Wiring Wisteria Bonsai

Wisterias do not require wiring and can be trained by pruning only.

However, in case you still plan to wire the tree, you can do it in fall after pruning.

It is true that branches may initially seem flexible, but they have a habit of snapping without any indication. Continue reading how to wire wisteria bonsai tree.

Please read our detailed guide on how to wire a bonsai tree. Also, refer to our detailed bonsai tools guide and how to take proper care of your bonsai tools to know about all the tools of bonsai.

Pruning Wisteria Bonsai

When to prune Wisteria bonsai?

How to prune Wisteria bonsai?

Since wisteria is a fast-grower, maintenance pruning is done routinely in order to encourage flowering. It is also worth nothing that wisteria only flowers in new wood. Hence, prune any woody branch which is older than 2 years.

In late summer, prune long tendrils back to three buds. At the same time, cut back any branches that are too long.

After flowering, cut back hard, removing about half of the flower-bearing stubs. After you have hard pruned post flowering stage, you can allow all subsequent new growth to continue until you begin to notice the quickly growing shoots becoming a concern. Then you can cut them back to two or three buds. This can be repeated several times throughout the year.

During the early spring or after late summer, do not prune as there are chances that you will unknowingly remove next year’s flowering buds. Continue reading How to Prune Wisteria Bonsai.

Refer to how to prune a bonsai tree for more info on best practices and tips and tricks.

Pinching Wisteria Bonsai

No pinching of growing tips is recommended for Wisteria Bonsai tree.

By pinching, you will simply promote the growth of weak laterals, which will not set flower buds.

Repotting Wisteria Bonsai

How often do you repot a wisteria bonsai tree?

Young wisteria bonsai trees can be repotted every 2 years in early spring. On the other hand, older specimens can be repotted every 3-5 years. You can also repot the plant immediately after flowering.

However, check regularly if the roots are container bound.

In case the plant is pot bound, repot immediately irrespective of the repotting cycle.

Choose a deep pot so that roots have access to as much moisture as possible. This will also keep the roots cool. Also, before repotting the plant, make sure that you have not watered the bonsai for almost 24 hours.

You can use a free-draining, bonsai soil mix (with extra organic matter) or Akadama soil mixed with a little sharp sand is ideal. You can also use a soil mix consisting of 40% grit and 60% organic matter.

You can read how to repot a bonsai tree to know more about the best guidelines to follow while repotting.

Must Read: Bonsai Soil Recipes

Must read : Choosing the right bonsai container

Feeding Wisteria Bonsai

After flowering, fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

In late summer, feed again with a low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Wisterias grow particularly well with Japanese rapeseed fertilizer.

Adding a large handful of rapeseed fertilizer to each pot after flowering should ensure repeat blooming.

Read more about applying fertilizer to flowering bonsai tree in bonsai fertilizer and its application.

Diseases and pest of Wisteria Bonsai

Wisteria trees are generally trouble free.

Scale insects and aphids are common pests. Use a systemic insecticide to control them.

If the soil is too dry, bud-drop may occur.

If the soil is too alkaline, chlorosis will occur (yellowing leaves). Add an acidifier to the soil.

Refer the in-depth guide for bonsai pest and diseases identification and treatment for more details.

Also, read best practices to keep your bonsai pest free.

Wisteria bonsai care

The roots will shrink and die if they are exposed to hot weather and allowed to dry. This can even cause the death of several parts of the plant.

When the flowering phase finishes, the plant starts to grow. This plant is a vigorous grower and the overextending branches and shoots will try to reach for any support they can get. Control these branches by pruning.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself pruning the tree 4 to 5 times in a single growing season.

It is possible that a wisteria tree which is not flowering is grown from a seed. May be it is not old enough to flower. And, if the plant was grown from cuttings, and still not flowering, then apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer to the plant. See if that helps.

What to look for when buying Wisteria Bonsai

When looking for a bonsai to purchase, select a tree with a strong-looking root system and a tall trunk with flowing curves.

Unless they’re collected from the wild, climbers like Wisteria rarely have very thick trunks.

Can you bonsai wisteria?

Yes, wisteria can be trained and maintained as a stunning bonsai tree. Wisteria bonsai can be created from either Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) or Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), and the techniques for shaping and pruning the bonsai are similar to those used for other bonsai species. Wisteria is mainly grown as a flowering bonsai tree.

To create a wisteria bonsai, start with a young plant and carefully prune the roots to encourage a compact root system. Train the plant to a desired shape using wiring techniques, and prune the branches to maintain the bonsai’s size and shape. Wisteria bonsai require regular pruning to control their vigorous growth and promote the growth of new flowers.

It’s important to note that wisteria bonsai require a lot of care and attention, including regular watering, fertilization, and pest control. They also need a lot of light to thrive, so they should be placed in a sunny spot or under artificial lighting.

With proper care and maintenance, wisteria bonsai can be a beautiful addition to any bonsai collection, showcasing their stunning flowers and unique growth habits.

How many years does it take for a wisteria to flower?

The time it takes for a wisteria plant to bloom can vary depending on several factors, such as the age of the plant, its growing conditions, and the species of wisteria.

In general, wisteria plants can take anywhere from 3 to 10 years to produce their first blooms. Some cultivars may take longer than others to mature and produce flowers.

In terms of species, Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) tends to bloom earlier than Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), with some Chinese wisteria plants blooming as early as 2-3 years old. Japanese wisteria, on the other hand, may take 5-7 years to bloom for the first time.

It’s important to note that proper care, such as regular pruning and fertilization, can help encourage earlier blooming. Additionally, some wisteria plants may require a certain amount of cold temperatures during the winter in order to bloom, so the climate in your area can also affect the blooming time. If you decide to own wisteria bonsai, be prepared to put in a little bit of hard work and patience.

Why is my wisteria bonsai not flowering?

There could be several reasons why your wisteria bonsai is not flowering. Here are some possible causes:

  1. Age of the bonsai: Wisteria bonsai typically take a few years to mature before they start flowering. If your bonsai is young, it may simply need more time to reach maturity.
  2. Lack of sunlight: Wisteria bonsai require plenty of sunlight to bloom. If your bonsai is not receiving enough light, it may not flower. Make sure your bonsai is placed in a spot with plenty of direct sunlight.
  3. Nutrient deficiencies: If your bonsai is not getting enough nutrients, it may not have the energy to produce flowers. Make sure you are fertilizing your bonsai regularly with a balanced fertilizer.
  4. Improper pruning: Wisteria bonsai require specific pruning techniques to encourage flowering. If you prune your bonsai incorrectly or at the wrong time of year, it may not flower.
  5. Environmental factors: Wisteria bonsai are sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. If your bonsai is not in the right environment, it may not flower. Make sure your bonsai is in a suitable environment with consistent temperature and humidity levels.
  6. Pot-bound roots: If your bonsai is pot-bound, it may not have enough space to grow and produce flowers. Consider repotting your bonsai in a larger container with fresh soil.

By addressing these potential causes, you may be able to encourage your wisteria bonsai to start flowering.

How long does a wisteria bonsai take to grow?

The growth rate of a wisteria bonsai can vary depending on various factors such as the age of the plant, growing conditions, and the type of wisteria. Generally, it can take several years for a wisteria bonsai to reach maturity and start flowering. The trunk can take several years to thicken, and it may take several more years to develop the intricate branching and twining habit that is characteristic of wisteria.

If you are growing wisteria from seeds, it will take almost 10-15 years for the wisteria bonsai to mature. Hence, I would recommend instead of growing it from seeds, buy your bonsai material from nursery.

It is not uncommon for wisteria bonsai to take 5 to 10 years or even longer to reach a mature and desirable form. However, the exact timeline can vary greatly depending on the individual plant and the level of care it receives.

Wisteria bonsai require patience and consistent care to grow and develop properly. With the right growing conditions, including regular pruning and fertilization, a wisteria bonsai can develop into a beautiful and impressive bonsai specimen over time. It’s important to note that bonsai trees, including wisteria bonsai, require ongoing maintenance and care throughout their lifespan to ensure they continue to grow and thrive.

Do wisteria bonsai lose their leaves?

Yes, wisteria bonsai can lose their leaves. Like all deciduous trees, wisteria bonsai shed their leaves in the fall and remain leafless during the winter months. This is a natural process and helps the tree conserve energy during the dormant season. In the spring, new leaves will grow back on the naked branches as the tree comes out of dormancy.

Why are my wisteria bonsai leaves turning brown?

If your wisteria bonsai leaves are turning brown, it could be due to several reasons. Here are some possible causes:

  1. Overwatering: Wisteria bonsai doesn’t like to sit in water, and overwatering can lead to root rot, which can cause the leaves to turn brown. Make sure you’re not watering too frequently, and that the soil has good drainage.
  2. Underwatering: On the other hand, if the soil is too dry, the leaves may also turn brown. Make sure you’re watering your wisteria bonsai regularly and not letting the soil dry out completely.
  3. Environmental factors: Brown leaves can also be caused by environmental factors, such as too much sun or wind, or extreme temperatures. Make sure your bonsai is in a suitable location and protected from harsh weather conditions.
  4. Nutrient deficiencies: Wisteria bonsai needs regular fertilization to ensure it gets the nutrients it needs. If the leaves are turning brown, it could be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, such as a lack of nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.
  5. Pests or diseases: Wisteria bonsai can be susceptible to pests and diseases, such as spider mites, scale, or powdery mildew, which can cause the leaves to turn brown. Check your bonsai for any signs of infestation or disease and treat it accordingly.

Identifying the underlying cause of the brown leaves is key to resolving the issue. Once you’ve determined the cause, you can take steps to address it and restore your wisteria bonsai to its healthy state.

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