The first time I cut back and leaf-pruned a Chinese wisteria, I was curious how it would respond to the work. I knew wisteria can grow well after mid-season cutback, but hadn’t experimented enough to know what to expect.
Now that I’m comfortable with the technique, it’s fun to see how quickly wisteria can fill in after they are pruned. Here’s the wisteria I pruned in mid-June (see “Leaf pruning Chinese wisteria” for details).
‘Caroline’ Chinese wisteria after leaf pruning – June 16
And here’s the tree three weeks later.
Wisteria in bloom – July 8
The flower buds started swelling within days of pruning and the first color appeared soon after.
Fully open flowers
I kept waiting for the perfect time to photograph the flowers, but as the leaves filled in faster than the blooms, there was always a mix of foliage and flowers on the tree. Before long, the leaves turned from gold to green and the upper petals began to lie down giving the flowers their characteristically soft look.
Chinese wisteria – July 11
Flowers just past their peak
Once most of the petals had dropped away, the seed pods started to form.
Young seed pods
To prevent the seeds from maturing, I removed the racemes by cutting back to the leaves below.
The only other work I did was to thin dense areas of foliage. I want to the tree to be full but will periodically thin the tree between now and fall if the density on the upper branches prevents the lower branches from getting enough light.
After removing the racemes and thinning – July 25
The big question at this point is whether stimulating flower buds in summer will have an effect on the bloom next spring. Although the flowers that just opened will obviously not be available next year, my guess is that new buds have set at the base of these flowers. I’ll know more when the tree opens up in spring. In the meantime, I’ll continue to give the tree plenty of sunshine, water, and fertilizer so it can grow well through summer.
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