About Me
My Photo
Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
View my complete profile

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wisteria Gone Wild

Philo and I were on an errand yesterday and passed this amazing sight near the freeway. We were not far from the house so we went back for the camera, and I jumped out to take a couple of shots from the sidewalk.

Susan South of the River recently posted her Wisteria; and last night I saw that Gotta Garden found a huge plant, too. I’ve often wished that I had this vine, but after seeing how far it’s traveled down the creek, maybe it’s better to visit Wisteria than to own it!


  1. I believe you might be right. Wow.

  2. Hi Annie: Thanks for the mention/link! That is pretty amazing...too bad it's so much work to control. I saw it on the front of homes in England...I can only guess they trim it...constantly. Anyway, we can still enjoy it...it is beautiful and smells divine...even if we have to drive to do so...lol!

  3. I suspect a wisteria might not get that big in zone 5, maybe I'll try it and let you know. In the meantime, I agree that a borrowed view is probably better for an aggressive plant like this one seems to be.

  4. My next door neighbor has wieteria. I wonder if that means I will eventually have it too? :)

  5. I've posted photos of my wisteria from last summer, winter and the current bloom...it does grow quickly but it is on a fence, easily accessible and not that difficult to control. I've never had it come up in any new area...just the original 26+ year old plant. And last year when we had part of the fence replaced I cut it WAY back and it's doing fine...I think it is a great plant!

  6. Pam/Digging, in my previous Austin neighborhood the wisteria was usually seen clipped into a medium-sized, freestanding tree shape in the middle of a mowed lawn, never on fences.

    GottaGarden it does seem to be worth some trouble to have that romantic look and fragrance.

    Carol, in Illinois one neighbor had it wandering all over his half-acre lot, climbing the trees. So zone 5 didn't hamper it, but I don't think he made any effort to control it.

    Gary, you could probably work it into your garden scheme pretty easily:) The color would go great with all your pansies and violas.

    Leslie, it's gorgeous in your photos! You have it growing sort of flat on the inside of a board fence - I'm guessng your side is the sunny side? Maybe that's one reason the wisteria doesn't get away from you - it's not tempted to leave your garden on a quest for better light.

    Wisteria is grown as a clipped standard on an island at the Taniguchi Oriental Garden, part of Austin's Zilker Botanical Park.
    We try to get to this part of the park at least once every spring.


  7. That's so funny, I also did a post about a wayward plant a few days ago on my Garden Diary...but it was Lady Banks Rose and it is on a hell strip in an abandoned shopping area!

  8. I love wisteria too, but so far have resisted planting it. A couple of years ago we went to visit a huge wisteria in a nearby park, and found it missing. I think the invasive plant crowd got to it. I confess that we haven't been back since to see if it's resprouted.

  9. Gorgeous color. We wanted to grow wisteria on a pergola over our deck but never got around to build the pergola so no wisteria. I've seen some in nearby yards that are trained as small trees about 6-10 feet high. They look pretty good this way. You could probably have one if you were willing to prune it to shape.

  10. I don't care how much space they invade, I just love the color. I'm going to try to remember to photo some beautiful wisterias on my way home today. They have been in full color for about two days.

    They are great pictures, Annie.

  11. How can such a pretty plant be such a thug? The Memphis neighbor had one in a tree standard form and she had to prune it back twice a week in the summer. Too much for me!!

  12. On of the members of my garden club has wisteria planted on an arbor. It's the only one I've seen in this area although I'm certain there must be others. It is very pretty but I don't think I'll be trying it any time soon.

  13. Annie, I don't see much wisteria around here so was happy to see these gorgeous specimens! I had no idea it could get so rampant. Glad you went back for your camera!

  14. That wisteria is beautiful. You could probably keep it under control, if you had it growing on an arbor or over a porch. We have lots of them growing like that in Vancouver.

    Gorgeous photographs!


  15. I've always admired it, too. It's so romantic growing over an arbor. I've hear it gets so heavy it can drop an arbor right to the ground if it's not properly supported.

    I think I will also continue to admire it in other's gardens.

  16. I always loved it while growing up in Australia. The fragrance is wonderful!
    We don't see it around here much. There's an Englishman who has it growing on his front porch but he said it had never really bloomed. I think I remember it was shaded by a tree, which might've been the problem.
    Thanks for sharing your delightful encounter with this runaway clump. It's gorgeous!

  17. I think my wisteria is a dud. It's leafing out, but still hasn't bloomed after 3 years. We're trying to train it up a utility pole in the easment behind our house. I don't think it's grown more than a foot since we planted it. I've never hesitated to hack up a plant that grows out of its boundaries, so invasiveness doesn't bother me so much. I just wish mine would do SOMETHING.

  18. I'd thought I commented. Apparently not,

    I'm thinking about growing some Wisteria in a big pot ... letting it go crazy in the summer and then cutting is back and moving it into a greenhouse.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    (Love the photos Annie.)

  19. My wisteria is on a north-south running fence and gets sun all day except late afternoon/evening. I have to admit that it has been known to wander about 30 feet further than the 30 or so I have now...it used to go up the neighbor's 20 foot privet and then hang down. So pretty!... but they recently chopped it all down so now it will stay closer to the ground. I might prune a wayward branch or two now and then but really...one good pruning when dormant is all it needs.

  20. I've always liked the way Wisteria looks in photos and was willing to commit to the maintenance of the vines until I found out that it only blooms for a few weeks. It doesn't seem worth it.

    Although on Desperate Housewives where they live on Wisteria Lane, it always seems to be blooming and never needs trimming. :)

  21. Beautiful photos of the wisteria! There is a mass of it in a wild lot near Westwood High School on the outer road of 183. I love it, but understand now why it's considered an invasive plant for Austin. Here's their list of invasive plants, btw:
    I think I'll stick with passion flower in my little garden. :-)

    Dawn in NW Austin

  22. Mine has nearly taken over the underneath of my house - and every few years I need help getting it under control. But this time of year - it's amazing, and I just can't imagine having a garden without it. Someone from here told me that if you want to control it, that you need to plant it in full sun - the vines seem to go crazy in the shade - like one would find in understory settings or like underneath my house. I tend to believe this, because my vines go crazy UNDER my home - they don't tend to invade the sunny side, which it has every chance to invade. I've never followed up on whether that is true or not.

  23. Parts of the highway near us look just like that! Nice and it smells good too but boy is it invasive (in Alabama anyway).

    I suspect that's Chinese wisteria, and there is an American wisteria that's native and not invasive. I don't think it's as showy though.

  24. Oh I forgot to say, if you can find the dried seed pods they are really cool in potpourri!

  25. The comments on this have blown me away -

    ~Dierdre, I'm using your post as an example of what not to do with my Lady Banks.

    Entangled, with park staff shorthanded everywhere, maybe they had no choice? Low maintenance plants in public gardens might need less care, but the gardens will sure be less interesting to people like us.

    Ki, you already have a botanical garden going in NJ - you go first!

    Mary, for you to like my pictures is a great compliment. Thank you.

    Sissy, that's a lot of pruning! Did your Memphis neighbor have an automatic sprinkler system?

    Apple, I've read that in colder climates the vine might live but the flower buds are killed... so you could end up with lots of pruning and no fragrant purple reward for your work. Which would really stink!

    LostRoses, my camera is not new and pretty bulky, but I'm taking it with from now on - who knows what else will show up ;-)

    Josie, it would have to share the space already occupied by a Lady Banks rose, Pink climbing rose, coral honeysuckle, clematis vines, and/or Star jasmines - but this Wisteria doesn't look like a team player to me.

    Zoey, this article on wisteria pruning mentions a house being lifted off its foundation!

    Kerri we used to go to a park where the wisteria was grown on a pergola. You walked under it and wove your way between the long, fragrant flowers. It was Heavenly!

    R Sorrell, that does sound weird. Is the area well drained so the roots can grow? Since it's an easement, is it possible that weedkillers are used in this area?

    Hello County Clerk Hank - I'd give it a try - but maybe put the container in a garage where it's cold but not super-cold? I think it needs some winter dormancy to survive.

    Leslie your post shows your expertise at pruning. But I wonder how many of us have neighbors who would allow something to grow on their hedges?

    It's a funny thing Anthony, so many of the things I miss, like peonies and lilacs, didn't have a long bloom period. And I get really tired of some plants that won't stop blooming in this climate!

    Hello, Dawn D.! I'm also in NW Austin. That grow green book is a wonderful resource- I've got a few copies picked up in local nurseries over the years. So far my passionvine is barely staying alive. The Gulf frittilary caterpillars turn it into green threads and shreds each year, with no chance to make a flower.

    Pam, your closeup photo of the Wisteria buds and bloom is astounding. And the shade idea is really intriguing, especially coming from a scientist who notices. If you find out more, please let me know.

    Hello Rurality. It interests me to know just how this wisteria got started. It's along a creek, but I don't know if this area was a farm or rangeland or whatever before the highway was built.
    The seedpods sound cool - but me clambering down the embankment to get to them would not be a good sight!



A comment from you is like chocolate - maybe I could live without it, but life is more fun with it. I'll try to answer. If someone else's comment piques your interest, please feel free to talk among yourselves.