A Trick to Try with Your Wisteria this Summer-

This is a fun technique to ramify your wisteria.

  • After the first flush of leaves has hardened off in early summer, and flowers are long gone, take each leaf and cut them down to two leaflets. This will result in a very thin looking bonsai, and you may wish to provide light shade for a week or two to avoid sun scald.
  • Fertilize and water well. Unlike some bonsai, fertilizing wisteria in the spring does not seem to dampen flowering much.
  • In several weeks your wisteria should flush again and it may well re-flower. The more times the wisteria flowers, the more ramification you’ll get. The ramification comes from the first several inches of the flower raceme, which sports new leaves and also flower buds for next year.

Try this technique only on trees that seem vigorous and have sent out some runners, and if you’ve at least two more months to your growing season when you cut the leaves. And with any wisteria, grow them in full sun along with your pines. 

Cutting a leaf to one pair of leaflets.

One pair of leaflets remain. Do this over the whole tree.

In several weeks you’ll have a full tree (vine) again, and may have flowers as well.

New leaves and buds on the base of the flower raceme.

A couple more wisteria blog posts: Why Won’t My Wisteria Bloom? (revised), and More on Growing Wisteria

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  1. Robert West says:

    Any stage of refinement Michael? Also I did not see fertilizer on your photos. Do you fertilize light, medium or heavy before and after this process? Love your blogs!! Keep giving us these pearls.

    • crataegus says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Yes, any stage of refinement works for this one. I’ve been fertilizing with fish emulsion this year, and we do fertilize the wisterias every week. Does not seem to influence flowering at all, which is not true of other flowering plants.

  2. Paolo says:

    Hi Michael, do you treat the dead wood on your wisteria? How to avoid die back/deadwood on the trunk when completely cutting, removing a branch? Thank you.

    • crataegus says:

      Yes, I do treat the deadwood with a wood hardener. If the branch is big it may well create a shari below it. Maybe try nibbling back slowly, taking the branch off over a period of a year or more. Sometimes a tree will reorganize and not create the shari then.

  3. Michael Lerner says:

    Do you mean cut each stem to one pair of leaflets? How do you cut one leaf into a pair?

    • crataegus says:

      Sorry for the confusion! Yes, I mean to cut the stem back to only a few leaflets. Usually I leave two pairs. That means cutting off about 5+ pairs of leaflets, but as you cut the stem, they all come off at once.

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