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Wisteria floribunda (Japanese Wisteria)

The vigorous deciduous climber with huge purple flowers that is the essence of China. Even if you do nothing to this plant, it still looks incredible but like so many things, the more you put in, the more you get out. Imagine a Chinese Temple Courtyard. At one end emerging from the beautifully raked gravel, one Wisteria plant so old its trunk is gnarled and twisted (actually, you’d be surprised – they look quite old, gnarled and twisted after only 20 years but you don’t have to tell anyone that) and the branches are supported by slender steel poles to create an enormous horizontal green cloud and the huge pendulous purple inflorescence dangle down in great profusion. One plant, appearing to float – suspended above the courtyard. Nothing else.

Yes well, maybe not but it’s worth remembering that things can be done with this plant. It’s convenient that it’s deciduous for February would be the time to do the training. Much easier when the leaves are absent. It’s bendy and a delight to handle. Training is best done with hemp string – the old fashioned brown or green stuff that smells nice. By the time the string is about to damage the plant, it will have rotted away and done its job. Perfect. Eating under a wooden frame in the garden covered in Wisteria is a lovely feel. Cool and as shady as you choose. If it’s too shady, just chop a few bits out. May and June is the time for flowering and beautiful as they look, bits of flower will undoubtedly float down and land in your truffle polenta chips with parmesan and garlic aioli but you might not notice immediately.

Propagated by cuttings.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

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Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

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