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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.