How well does Wisteria grow in pots? It's a question that anyone with a small facade has undoubtedly wondered to themselves at least once, and little wonder: those amethyst blooms easily make it the most beautiful climbing plant of all.
Fortunately, this is one of those oh-so-achievable garden ideas, as the mighty Wisteria – which gained popularity over the summer after its starry appearance in Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story – absolutely can be grown in pots and containers.
Which means, yes, it's time to add 'grow Wisteria in pots' to your overflowing list of front garden ideas. Right now.
How well does Wisteria grow in pots?
Now, while Wisteria can absolutely be grown in pots, it isn't as easy as shoving your climbing plant into a container and leaving it to its own devices. Meaning, yes, this is one of those garden trends that will take more than a little TLC on your behalf.
'Typically, a Wisteria should be grown against a strong structure like a house as they have really strong, woody stems,' notes Chris Bonnett at GardeningExpress.co.uk.
'Don't worry, though, as growing Wisteria in pots is still doable if you’re growing it as a standard tree. Just remember that it is more of a high-maintenance option, as your plant will require regular pruning and feeding.'
It might sound like hard work, but it will absolutely pay off. In fact, some agents believe that a fine display of Wisteria creeping across your property could actually add value to your home by up to 5%.
Tempted to try it for yourself? I suspected as much.
Here’s what you need to know.
What you will need
How well does Wisteria grow in pots? It's all about the care you put into it, which goes right back to the very beginning of your gardening journey: yes, you need to make sure you have the right equipment and tools to hand.
- A flowering Wisteria plant, such as Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria), Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria), or Wisteria brachybotrys (silky wisteria). American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is also a good option for anyone who wants a tamer plant
- A large pot or container of at least 45cm (18in), such as this stylish Glazed Finish Planter from Homebase
- A bag of good loam-based potting compost, such as John Innes No. 3 on Amazon
- A trowel
- A liquid tomato fertiliser, Miracle-Gro or a similar flowering plant food
- A pair of sharp, clean secateurs, such as these Felco secateurs from Amazon
If you want to make sure your Wisteria grows very well in its pot or container, be sure to take all of the following tips on board...
Choose the largest pot you have space for
How well does Wisteria grow in pots? Well, Wisteria boast a complex root system, so you will need to select the largest pot you have space for if you want yours to thrive.
As Morris Hankinson, director of Hopes Grove Nurseries, says: 'When choosing a pot for a Wisteria, it's always worth going as large as the situation will allow. That way a larger volume of soil will support the plant for significantly longer before it eventually needs to be planted into the ground.
'Bigger is very much better in this case because Wisteria are hungry plants and will soon run out of steam otherwise.'
Don't scrimp on the compost
Above all else, you want to make sure your pot can hold 'a good quality compost, such as Compost King that has slow release food added in,' says Chris.
'Wisteria are hungry plants so a good quality compost is essential.'
With this in mind, Morris adds: 'Check that your pot has good drainage. If the holes are particularly large, it pays to place a few ‘crocks’ over them (pieces of tile or terracotta pot) to stop your compost escaping.'
Pay attention to planting levels
There are a few things you need to think about when planting your Wisteria in a pot or container.
Perhaps most important, though, is the planting levels. As Morris says, you need to 'be sure to plant at the same depth as the plant was in the pot you buy it in'.
Chris cautions: 'Ensure you’re planting your Wisteria in well-drained, yet still moist, soil, and consider adding a layer of gravel first to help with extra drainage.'
Stick to a regular feeding schedule
Wisteria thrives in sunlight, so be sure you’re placing your pot somewhere that provides your climbing plant with at least six hours of sunlight a day. And remember: Wisteria are incredibly hungry plants, so will need to be fed and watered regularly if you truly want them to thrive.
'It’s important to accommodate your Wisteria in its growing season with a high potash fertiliser,' says Chris, noting that you should do this monthly.
'You’ll also need to water the tree daily in order to keep the soil moist.'
Morris adds: 'Your Wisteria will appreciate a good feed each spring, so choose a lower nitrogen feed, such as Ecofective Organic Tomato Plant Feed Concentrate, to encourage flowers and give the foliage a nice colour without too much lush growth'
Make sure you prune your potted Wisteria regularly
Wisteria are strong growing plants and can make many new shoots and leaves – usually at the expense of those gorgeous purple flowers. By growing them in a pot, however, the growth is more restricted, which makes for a more simple pruning schedule.
'For the first year or two its best to concentrate on getting a nice framework,' advises Morris. 'Potted Wisteria are almost always grown as standards (on a stem), so concentrate on this and getting a bushy group of branches at the top of it.
'Once this has been established, prune back the young growths to six leaves each summer. And, in January or February, prune back the remaining shoots to within 2 or 3 buds of where the shoot emerges from on the framework.'
... and don't forget to re-pot your Wisteria when needed
As mentioned already, it is important to select the very largest pot you possibly can for your Wisteria when you first plant it. Doing so will give it ample time to establish itself, and it also means you could get a good number of years out of it – especially if the compost is topped up each spring and a regular feeding regime is followed.
As Morris says, though, your pot will 'eventually run out of steam, with the compost exhausted of both structure and nutrients'.
'By this point, you should have a very good sized specimen to plant out in the garden (or even sell on) that would certainly cost several hundred pounds to buy!' he says.
You could even trail your fully-grown Wisteria up over an archway or structure, especially if you've been inspired by all the pergola ideas popping up online this year.
Basically, it seems that – with a bit of hard work and careful planning – we can all have the Regency-era garden of our dreams. Time to plant a Wisteria ready for us to whip out our fine china and enjoy the sort of garden party that Queen Charlotte herself would be proud of, I think.
How well does wisteria grow in pots?
Wisteria grow surprisingly well in pots, although they will need to be fed, watered and pruned regularly. They will need plenty of room for their roots to establish themselves, so pick the largest pot you have, and use a good quality compost. Make sure that your Wisteria gets six hours of sunlight a day.
How big will a potted wisteria grow?
Wisteria grows quickly, so be sure to pick the largest pot you have space for. While your potted Wisteria is unlikely to reach the same size it would if it were planted in the ground, it is likely to thrive if you prune, feed, and water it regularly. And remember: Wisteria roots grow and spread quickly, so you’ll likely need to repot at some point (just be sure to remove up to one-third of the roots each time you repot).
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Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.
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