Why Don't You Plant Wisteria Close to Your House?

The long, fragrant curtains of flowers that adorn wisteria (Wisteria spp.) Make it seem like a wonderful addition to your lawn. However, the super-fast development habit of many wisteria varieties produce the genus an unwelcome addition to land that is right by your house, or any other structure which you want to keep in 1 piece. Planting wisteria by your house isn’t something you want to do because the vines of wisteria are competitive growers that can cause substantial harm, even to homes.

Know Your Type

The wisteria genus has 10 species, with numerous cultivarsnonetheless, that the Ohio State University Extension notes which only two species are generally planted in gardens. Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9, has drooping white, blue, violet, or lavender bloom clusters which can reach over 3 feet in length. Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, has 1-foot-long flower clusters in blue, purple or white, with a mix of blue and white being quite common. There’s also American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), growing in USDA zones 6 to 9, that has smaller clusters of purple or white blooms. Wisteria is generally considered a vine, though the Old Farmer’s Almanac calls it both a tree and a vine.

Steady Destruction

Wisteria is this kind of fast and strong grower that its vines can destroy the structures where the plant is growing. Tree trunks can sustain serious harm — and thinner trunks under 10 inches in diameter can really die — from the girdling consequences of wisteria growing around the back. Houses can be torn apart as wisteria vines creep through crevices and cracks. In an article for the U.K.’s Independent newspaper in 2007, writer Emma Townshend recounted how she had found that the wisteria she had planted against her house had grown under the roof shingles, displacing enough material to cause a roof leak. The Ohio State University Extension states wisteria vines can also clog gutters.

Invasive Status

Japanese and Chinese wisteria are both considered invasive in many regions of the country. They grow so fast that they immediately take over places, pushing out native plants. They’ll also use other plants as substitute trellises, eventually killing the plants. The Old Farmer’s Almanac warns that wisteria can grow as much as 10 feet in 1 year. Wisteria plants escape cultivation easily, and you need to keep a continuous eye on the vines’ growth. The middle for Aquatic and Invasive Plants in the University of Florida notes which pieces which you have cut the plant can take root and form new plants. Nice Gardening advises American wisteria doesn’t send out suckers, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says it is much less damaging toward buildings as Chinese and Japanese wisteria. But you should double-check with your area’s extension office to see if American wisteria is deemed invasive in your area.

Remote Locations

If wisteria isn’t considered invasive in your area, you can plant it away from constructions, but keep your eye on its growth. Inspect all structures which host wisteria regularly to make sure the vines have not tried to squeeze their way in between parts of the structure. If you find wisteria is choking out other plants, such as trees, then the Ohio State University Extension states to cut back the girdling vine back to the ground line and get rid of the parts of the vine that have wrapped themselves around the other plant.

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