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What Is a Wisteria Tree?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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A wisteria tree is actually a type of vine that has been trained to grow like a tree. Most wisteria species are native to parts of either North America or Asia, but they will often grow well in nearly any temperate climate. In fact, this vine is typically very aggressive, and is usually necessary to prune it often in order to keep it from becoming invasive. The wisteria typically produces fragrant purple blooms in the spring.

Most varieties of wisteria are wild plants native to parts of Asia. Two varieties of this plant grow in North America. The wisteria tree will grow in most temperate climates. Unlike some other plants, wisterias do not need much fertilization. In fact, they seem to grow better in less fertile soil with little water. It should be protected, however, from very cold temperatures during the winter.

Despite its nickname, a wisteria tree is not a tree at all. All wisteria species are actually woody vines, or climbing shrubs. Some species, however, are much easier to train than others.

Creating a wisteria tree from a wisteria vine typically involves extensive staking, training, and pruning of the plant. Gardeners must first tie the largest and sturdiest vine on a wisteria plant to a thick stake. All other shoots that are growing out of the sides of this vine should be pruned. Once the vine has reached the desired height, it is then pruned to maintain its shape.

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Once established, a wisteria tree is an aggressive grower. If it not pruned regularly, it can cause damage to buildings or smother other plants. Most gardening experts recommend carefully pruning this shrub at least twice a year. The best times of year to prune a wisteria are during the late fall and early spring.

An established wisteria tree will usually bloom in the late part of the spring or early summer. Most wisteria trees have long, draping purple blossoms, but they may also be blue, white, or yellow. These flowers are typically very fragrant, but they are also toxic. Humans or animals that consume any part of this plant will often experience a number of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Children are generally more at risk than adults of suffering from wisteria toxicity.

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