The wisteria bonsai is a very popular plant among bonsai enthusiasts. Although it does not conform to traditional bonsai forms, people grow it because of the beautiful hanging flowers. Depending upon which type of plant it is, flowers can be a mixture of pink, purple, blue or white. The flowers have heavy scents.
While there are around 10 types of woody, wisteria plants, those most used for bonsai are the Chinese wisteria and the Japanese wisteria. The plant is found outside in Asia, especially Japan, Korea, and Japan and the southern parts of the United States. It favors moist stream banks and often grows to reach over thirty feet. It has very long leaves which can reach almost a foot.
If you plan on quickly having flowers on your wisteria bonsai, you will be out of luck. It takes around ten years for a wisteria bonsai to flower. When it is old enough, to train the plant to encourage flowering, you should prune shoots down to five to six inches. You should prune the tree approximately four times between the last of the flowers and winter.
Make the fourth pruning right before winter and leave three buds on the shoot. Another pruning in winter will encourage flowering. Some bonsai enthusiasts repot their wisteria right after it flowers. You can rarely prune a wisteria too much. It puts all of its energy into growing foliage.
One of the problems some people have with wisteria bonsai is too much nitrogen. Because the plant pulls nitrogen from the atmosphere, you do not need to use a fertilizer containing nitrogen. If you do, you can very easily end up with an abundance of green leaves and not many flowers. They make fertilizer specifically for the wisteria bonsai and that is the type you should use to encourage flowering.
It doesn’t matter whether you keep your wisteria in a spot where it gets full or partial sunshine. It does need wind protection, however, because the plant is top heavy, especially when flowering. Make sure to give your wisteria bonsai plenty of water because it requires more than other plants. Water it just enough so that plant dries out from one day to the next. This is especially important in the hotter months of July and August.
Wisteria rarely has pest and disease problems although it is susceptible to brown scale, aphids, and leafspot. These problems are easily corrected with organic insecticides. Wisterias are very hearty and rugged. Garden wisterias don’t need protection outside until the temperatures get down to the low twenties.Water the plant often but make sure the soil drains well. Don’t let the soil become waterlogged. Keep your wisteria healthy by repotting it every two years with new soil. You can propagate a wisteria bonsai by taking cuttings from its side shoots.
Wisteria bonsai are not exceptionally easy to care for and you should have some bonsai experience before growing your own. Many people don’t like the plant because it has very little appeal when it is not flowering. And, getting it to flower can be quite a test of perseverance. The plant is very vigorous and aggressive about growing foliage. If you have trouble pruning, a wisteria is not for you. It has to be cut back so much that it becomes quite root-bound before it will give you the reward of flowers.
Wisteria bonsai require more attention and maintenance than other bonsai plants. However, when it does bloom each year with abundant flowers, it is more than worth all the time you put into it.