Wisteria floribunda, the Japanese Wisteria is native to
Japan. It typically reaches heights of 35', but can grow
higher. It can be trained into a tree-like form and is
also a common subject for bonsai, along with Wisteria
Wisterias do not conform to normal bonsai styling; they
are styled to show off their highly scented racemes. The
flowering habit of Japense wisteria is perhaps the most
spectacular of the Wisteria family. It sports the longest
flower racemes of any wisteria; they can reach nearly
half a meter in length. These racemes burst into great
trails of clustered violet or blue flowers in early to
mid-Spring. The flowers carry a distinctive fragrance
similar to that of grapes.
The leaves are 10" to 15" long and contain 13
to 19 leaflets that are each 2-6 cm long. The leaf color
is bright green, emerging leaves may be red-tinged. It
also bears numerous poisonous, brown, velvety, bean-like
seed pods that mature in Summer and persist until Winter.
Trunks develop picturesque fluted and muscle-like form,
bark is gray in color. The stem is twining clockwise.
Pruning encourages dense, compact foliage and flowering.
Hardiness zones 5-9, (-5°C/25°F, -26°C/-15°F) in
Winter. Due to the high moisture content of the roots, it
should be given some protection when temperatures drop
below -5°C. It is not fussy about soil type or moisture,
although its preference is a reasonably moist, well
drained, rich to average mix. Full sun or partial shade.
Wisteria require large quantities of water in comparison
to most other bonsai species and need heavy watering to
keep them continually moist. In periods of hot weather
during the Summer, they will happily tolerate their pots
being stood in a shallow tray of water to keep up
moisture levels. However, water trays, if used, should be
allowed to dry out daily. Water heavily before and during
In general, Wisteria need more fertilizer than most
bonsai. However, in order to ensure good flowering,
feeding should be minimized during and immediately
following flowering. Fertilize heavily in Spring before
flowering and in late Summer and Autumn, until the leaves