Living on Wisteria Lane

Wisteria Lane

Wisteria-VineWisteria EXPLODES late March in our neighborhood, making it look pretty much like the set of Desperate Housewives. This is not my house; ours is around the corner – within a block of four wisteria vines that demonstrate what TO DO and NOT DO. It’s incredibly easy. It thrives on abuse. So much so, that when you drive the Westside of Los Angeles and glance deep into ravines, you’ll see wayward vines growing magnificently. No sprinkler systems. No gardener. No fertilizer. Especially NO FERTILIZER, that is important.

Corner-House-with-WisteriaOK, I lied. This house has a ton of gardeners, but they know to NOT fertilize the wisteria, and they whack it back when bare, keeping it picture-perfect year after year.

Romantic, stunning, a sweet, strong scent, wisteria is also gentle. You know how ivy attaches itself to surfaces with those sucker-type roots? Noooo… wisteria runs curly tendrils, like an octopus, that grasp things you give it to help it trail – wire, string, hooks, rod iron, fence lines, gutters.

Patti's-WisteriaThis is our wisteria, above, and why I say, “no fertilizer.” See all the leaves?? Fertilizer feeds the greens, and the flowers get sad… wisteria flowers are over-achievers, they force bloom when they have no food. Our own gardener did what he was told and fertilized our entire yard. I FORGOT TO TELL HIM, DON’T DO THE WISTERIA. Well, it sucked up some of that good stuff and within a week, went nuts with greenery.

Beth's-Wisteria-VineOur neighbor Beth, above, also appears to have fertilized. Ordinarily, her vine is a lot more flower-filled. But she has an eye for pretty, and trails hers across the majority of her home front.

Greenfield-Wisteria-Vine And finally, this neighbor, above, shows what happens if you ignore the vine. A grand old home, granny owned. The rest of her front yard is also ignored, all ivy. If your structure can handle the weight, letting the vine go bananas is stunning.

Summary: live in the right climate. Plant a vine. Give it water but don’t worry. Whack it back each year when bare to corral it. Give it something to climb. And skip the fertilizer. Do this and every year, it gets better. My neighborhood was built in the mid 30s, and some of these vines are possibly that old, too.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lana April 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I had a wisteria vine climbing a trellis in the front yard in Ohio, and it was beautiful. I was clueless, but somehow managed not to mangle it. I don’t particularly care for the English Ivy, but wisteria vines look so romantic:)

2 Table Scraps April 4, 2010 at 10:38 am

How beautiful!!

3 Lindaraxa April 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Same with bouganvilleas in Florida. The less you water it the more it thrives. go figure, Happy Easter!

4 Worth The Whisk April 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

According to lots of growing zone maps, wisteria works fine in zones 3 to 9. You’re in 5/6 so it ought to work.

5 Renee April 1, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Who knew that Wisteria was so easy to grow??? Well, I guess you did but I certainly did not. The picture of that first white house is amazing. So, so pretty. I live in Illinois. Would wisteria live in my climate?
Renee @Kudos Kookies

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