Wisteria a welcome sign that spring is here


Signs spring is returning to the South: dead armadillos on the side of the road, a thick coat of pollen on the car a day after it’s been washed and the arrival of mosquitoes so big that if you slap them they return the favor.

Actually, a simpler way to know spring is here is sighting wisteria in bloom, its blue-purple flowers a vivid contrast to the green of pine trees or newly flowered plants.

Wisteria is a woody climbing bine native to the Eastern US, China, Korea and Japan. (A bine is a plant that climbs by its shoots growing in a helix around a support, where a vines uses tendrils.)

American wisteria tends to first bloom in March and by early April can be seen throughout the South.

American wisteria can grow up to 50 feet long, producing dense clusters of flowers on stalks 2 to 6 inches long.

It is very fragrant plant, putting off a rich lavender-like scent that can be detected hundreds of feet away if you’re downwind from a substantial stand.

Apparently, Chinese and Japanese wisteria are noted for being fast-growing, hardy and being able to “escape cultivation.” American wisteria is easier to control.

Wisteria, not unlike vines, is at its best when it has a tree, wall or other supporting structure to assist with upward movement. In the South, wisteria is often seen in stands of trees, around abandoned structures or growing along old fences.

The flowering season for American wisteria is relatively short; by the end of May, at least in South Carolina, the bluish-purple flowers will be gone and all that will remain will be long snaking stems, green leaves and pods that hold the seeds of future wisteria beauty.

(Top: Tree overgrown with wisteria. Below: wisteria growing along picket fence.)

wisteria fence

17 thoughts on “Wisteria a welcome sign that spring is here

  1. How lovely, CBC! I wish we were having comparable signs of spring, hereabouts. Although the snow does seem to be melting. Hope it’s all gone before the Jays’ home opener tomorrow!

  2. How gorgeous is that!
    I failed time after time with Chinese wisteria in France….and am gnashing the teeth thinking how that wisteria would have looked in my last garden there…

    • I just uprooted some from a nearby field in an attempt to get some growing in my yard; we’ll see how that works. I’ve always wanted to have a nice array of wisteria in the yard.

      Chinese wisteria sounds like most plants – if you don’t want it, it’s everywhere; if you like it, you can’t get it to grow.

  3. Wisteria trees and hanging over fences are beautiful shots, dear. Wisteria reminds me of a summer porch in back of house, sweet tea or lemonade with the scent of southern hospitality upon me. 🙂

      • I despise mosquitoes. Which is why I love spiders (so long as they live outside the house). But poor armadillos. I don’t think I could ever be indifferent to dead things. I get sad seeing roadkill. Most people think I’m silly. But there you go. That’s me.

      • Naw, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to see living things get hurt. I have a hard time working up sympathy for fire ants and mosquitoes, but I’m a softie for just about anything else.

      • Oh yeah, I’m with you there. I have nooo sympathy at all for mosquitoes and fleas and the like and do everything I can to massacre them. Luckily I’ve never come across fire ants but if I did, I’d probably lump them in with the mosquitoes and fleas (which I hate with a passion).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s