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Growing Wisteria Floribunda As a Bonsai

Author : Elizabeth Huston789
Publish Date : 2021-04-19 09:44:15
Growing Wisteria Floribunda As a Bonsai

Wisteria floribunda makes a uniquely interesting bonsai subject. It is very adaptable and long lived and can be grown to produce a single trunk framework that will carry spectacular springtime flower clusters. Wisteria is deciduous, so during the winter months the plant will be leafless and only the silhouette character trunk and structural stems will grace your container. Because Wisteria grows in Zones 2-24, almost no one is precluded from cultivating it as a bonsai.

Many bonsai growers will instruct you to buy a grafted or cutting-grown plant to accelerate the blooming process. Wisteria seedlings can take a few years before they produce blooms. Because I grow seedlings, that is what I use. Using seedlings does allow me to control and train the plant's development, emphasizing root and early main trunk growth. A strong framework is necessary to support the weight of the mature vine and flower clusters as the plant becomes a bloomer.

The Wisteria is not particular to soil mix except for good drainage and so most bonsai mixes work nicely. They can develop chlorosis and subsequent yellowish leaves in some alkaline mixes, but this can be lessened by starting with an acidic mix and by throwing a couple non-galvanized washers or nails into the soil mix when repotting. The ferrous metals will rust and infuse the soil with a useable iron chelate. The wisteria is a low nitrogen plant, so do not fertilize too heavily or you will get lots of unruly vine and stem growth instead trunk and bloom development.

Pruning and training is important with any bonsai, and Wisteria is no exception. Not only are you trying to control the size and shape of the plant, but also promote its blooms. It will be necessary to stake the plant initially until the trunk has developed some girth and strength. Make sure you use a plastic tape that will stretch so that the trunk does not suffer from girding. Allow the main stem to grow until it reaches your desired height before pinching out the apical meristem to restrict vertical growth and promote branch development. Allow branches with a mind to appearance and structure as you develop a framework of well-spaced and visually pleasing branches. You will want to keep branches short so they will thicken and remove branches and rub out buds that emerge below the head. On the branches that you allow, keep them manageable by not letting them run or develop too many side shoots, keeping in mind that the weight of the vines and flowers must be supported by the trunk and branch structure.

 

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Pay attention to your fertilizer use and try not to promote rank vine growth. A dilute solution of 1-5-5 should be adequate with little or no nitrogen during the winter months. Winter is the time to do most of your hard pruning. Spring and summer should be spent keeping the vine growth under control. It is important to remember that next years flower buds start to form in early summer, so care should be taken to selectively shorten the flower spurs to only one or two buds so the plant can support the weight.

If the bonsai wisteria, after having developed a nice trunk and branch framework, does not start to produce flower spurs, hold back on the nitrogen and use a dilute solution of 0-5-5 through the summer months. If the next year's flower spurs still refuse to emerge, you can try pruning the roots in the early spring to a degree that the plant becomes concerned about survival so that it may begin to produce flower spurs in order to set seed.

Wisteria floribunda is seldom thought of as a bonsai subject, but their adaptability, long life, character trunk, and spectacular springtime flower clusters make it an interesting addition to any bonsai collection. With the Wisteria florabunda's broad cultivation zone range, there is little reason not to give this unique bonsai subject a try.

Copyright: Gilbert Foerster/2010

Gilbert Foerster is the owner of 
 of difficult to find plants to the enthusiastic hobbyist and collector. Gilbert has been germinating, growing, and shipping seedlings for over thirty five years for
Wisteria floribunda makes a uniquely interesting bonsai subject. It is very adaptable and long lived and can be grown to produce a single trunk framework that will carry spectacular springtime flower clusters. Wisteria is deciduous, so during the winter months the plant will be leafless and only the silhouette character trunk and structural stems will grace your container. Because Wisteria grows in Zones 2-24, almost no one is precluded from cultivating it as a bonsai.

Many bonsai growers will instruct you to buy a grafted or cutting-grown plant to accelerate the blooming process. Wisteria seedlings can take a few years before they produce blooms. Because I grow seedlings, that is what I use. Using seedlings does allow me to control and train the plant's development, emphasizing root and early main trunk growth. A strong framework is necessary to support the weight of the mature vine and flower clusters as the plant becomes a bloomer.

The Wisteria is not particular to soil mix except for good drainage and so most bonsai mixes work nicely. They can develop chlorosis and subsequent yellowish leaves in some alkaline mixes, but this can be lessened by starting with an acidic mix and by throwing a couple non-galvanized washers or nails into the soil mix when repotting. The ferrous metals will rust and infuse the soil with a useable iron chelate. The wisteria is a low nitrogen plant, so do not fertilize too heavily or you will get lots of unruly vine and stem growth instead trunk and bloom development.

Pruning and training is important with any bonsai, and Wisteria is no exception. Not only are you trying to control the size and shape of the plant, but also promote its blooms. It will be necessary to stake the plant initially until the trunk has developed some girth and strength. Make sure you use a plastic tape that will stretch so that the trunk does not suffer from girding. Allow the main stem to grow until it reaches your desired height before pinching out the apical meristem to restrict vertical growth and promote branch development. Allow branches with a mind to appearance and structure as you develop a framework of well-spaced and visually pleasing branches. You will want to keep branches short so they will thicken and remove branches and rub out buds that emerge below the head. On the branches that you allow, keep them manageable by not letting them run or develop too many side shoots, keeping in mind that the weight of the vines and flowers must be supported by the trunk and branch structure.

Pay attention to your fertilizer use and try not to promote rank vine growth. A dilute solution of 1-5-5 should be adequate with little or no nitrogen during the winter months. Winter is the time to do most of your hard pruning. Spring and summer should be spent keeping the vine growth under control. It is important to remember that next years flower buds start to form in early summer, so care should be taken to selectively shorten the flower spurs to only one or two buds so the plant can support the weight.

If the bonsai wisteria, after having developed a nice trunk and branch framework, does not start to produce flower spurs, hold back on the nitrogen and use a dilute solution of 0-5-5 through the summer months. If the next year's flower spurs still refuse to emerge, you can try pruning the roots in the early spring to a degree that the plant becomes concerned about survival so that it may begin to produce flower spurs in order to set seed.

Wisteria floribunda is seldom thought of as a bonsai subject, but their adaptability, long life, character trunk, and spectacular springtime flower clusters make it an interesting addition to any bonsai collection. With the Wisteria florabunda's broad cultivation zone range, there is little reason not to give this unique bonsai subject a try.

Copyright: Gilbert Foerster/2010

Gilbert Foerster is the owner of 
 of difficult to find plants to the enthusiastic hobbyist and collector. Gilbert has been germinating, growing, and shipping seedlings for over thirty five years for



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