Maximise wisteria flowers with pruning rule that ‘encourages growth’

Climbing plants such as wisteria tend to be more high maintenance than other varieties, which often means months of preparation are required to secure the best summer blooms.

Speaking previously to, Tom Hilton, an indoor gardening expert at National Greenhouse claimed that the “botanical beauty” comes with “a lot of elbow grease”.

He said: “After your plant has begun to flower, around July or August time, it’s time to break out your clippers and get to your garden.”

But while August is the prime time for pruning wisteria when the fragrant blossoms are at their peak, it can also offset the demise of the flowers if gardeners use the wrong technique.

To avoid any detrimental errors, Tom suggested following a simple five-bud pruning rule.

READ MORE: Hydrangeas will not flower next year if gardeners ‘mess up pruning’ this summer

He said: “Pruning around five buds is a great amount, as it leaves plenty to continue growing while encouraging flower growth, rather than a continued expansion of the plant itself.

“It’s also the best way to keep your plant in check, not just to prevent it from overgrowing, but also to keep it looking tidy and presentable.”

The premise of this technique is to take a pair of sharp secateurs and reduce the long, whippy shoots back five buds back to the base.

In most cases, this is equal to around 20cm worth of flimsy growth and tends to be mostly non-vigorous shoots. Any shoots that are shorter than this length can be left untouched ready to flower the following year.

Of course, accessing these shoots isn’t always easy when it comes to climbing plants, so it is recommended to use a holster which can be attached to a belt rather than balancing on ladders to reach wisteria above ground level.

While it may seem excessive to prune the plant back this much, the Royal Horticultural Society claimed that it is important to control the size of the expansive network of stems.

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This is known as hard-pruning and is most effective in the middle of summer once the blooms have faded and growth slows down.

Tom added: “Pruning allows you to direct the growth of new buds on the path you want them to take, rather than them potentially taking over your garden or the side of your house.

“This summer trim also means there is less foliage on the plant that leaves the lower plants in shadow. Doing this allows you to get the most out of the summer season.”

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