Wisteria Bonsai: How Long Does It Take to Grow?

  • By: Josh Koop
  • Date: February 28, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Wisteria Bonsai is exceptional compared to most other traditional bonsai. It looks astonishing as a bonsai. Plus, it takes quite a long time to yield flowers. Nevertheless, they are still very much popular. Every true-to-the-heart bonsai enthusiast knows the value of a wisteria bonsai and its mesmerizing pink and blue flowers. 

A Wisteria Bonsai takes around ten to fifteen years to reach its peak condition. And this is calculated from the time the plant was just a seed. In other words, you have to wait for a decade or more to observe the bonsai in its full glory. Mature plants bear fragrant flowers which might be white, blue, pink, or purple.

To know more about this wonderful and enigmatic bonsai read the following sections. You will learn helpful tips on taking care of your wisteria bonsai along the way. 

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How Long Does It Take for Wisteria Bonsai To Grow?

The whole journey of starting from a seed to becoming fully mature enough to bear flowers takes approximately 10 to 15 years. However, this is only true for the bonsai state of the plant. Usually, the normal vine of wisteria can grow very quickly. Plus, the flowers appear much sooner.

The wisteria isn’t a broad genus. There are only nine distinct species of wisteria that can be identified. Among them mainly two species are popular for bonsai purposes- Japanese wisteria and Chinese wisteria  

Wisteria Floribunda or Japanese bonsai is high maintenance. Because these plants go through rapid growth. Therefore, you have to prune them regularly and quite often. So, you should only get these bonsai plants if you can commit to such a routine. 

Japanese bonsai plants are popular for their flowers. They produce those in clusters that are more elaborate and enriched compared to the other species. When in full bloom the flowers look magnificent and other-worldly. The Cascades of bluish or reddish-violet flowers gracefully flow down. 

Wisteria Sinensis or Chinese Wisteria Bonsai is the second most favorite among bonsai enthusiasts. They are easier to maintain than their Japanese counterparts. However, these are vines. So, needless to say, they require more regular pruning than other types of bonsai. 

Chinese Wisteria gives beautiful scented purple-blue flowers when they reach maturity. Usually, the flowers appear from May to June. And they too form clusters. Although these collections are less elaborate and shorter than Japanese Wisteria. 

How To Grow A Wisteria Bonsai? 

Growing a bonsai isn’t complicated in that sense. But it’s tedious. You have to regularly attend to your plant. And this gets tougher when you are thinking about growing a Wisteria Bonsai from its seed. Because you have to wait at least a decade before you see any results. But still, every enthusiast knows the wait is worth it. 

There are two ways to grow or make a bonsai. You can germinate them right from the seed. Or you can make a softwood cutting from a mature wisteria bonsai and grow another one from it. Let’s look into both of them. 

Growing Wisteria Bonsai From Seeds 

The first step is getting good seeds. And the best way to do this is to harvest them directly from a fully mature wisteria plant. These seeds are contained in a pod. To check if they are dry enough to harvest, shake the pod to hear a rattling sound. After that, drop the seeds in a jar of water. The ones which sink are the potent seeds.

To put the seeds in, prepare a large and shallow pot. You can’t just fill the pot up with any soil and fertilizer. Rather, wisteria seeds will require a soil-free seedling mixture. Instead of one pot, you can prepare multiple smaller pots for each seed. Don’t forget to create drainage holes under the pots. 

When you put the seeds in, use a file or a sharp blade to thin their outer shell slightly. This will help with germination and sprouting. And you will also want to place them at the top of the filling and then cover them with a thin layer of the mixture. The spot where you keep the pots should get adequate light and have moderate temperatures. 

Wisteria plants are water-friendly. They will require a moist environment to thrive. But again, too much water can be deadly. So, try to keep the soil moist but at the same time avoid any build-up of water. You will move the seedlings to a different well-draining pot when they begin to sprout and start the process of bonsai. 

Growing Wisteria Bonsai From Wood Cutting 

You can collect a softwood cutting from a mature wisteria plant. And you should do this during the summer. Because at this time of the year, the temperature is suitable for the wood cuttings to sprout their roots.

Take a large pot to plant the shoot. Choosing a large pot is important because the wisteria will continue its growth in it over the years. So, it is important to provide it with plenty of space to spread its branches. When the trunks and branches get thicker and stronger you will relocate them to a traditional bonsai container.

After that, you will want to keep the wisteria in its bonsai shape and form. You will accomplish this by careful and tactical use of bonsai wire and regular pruning. Use the bonsai wire to shape the wisteria plant when the root system has matured fully. 

Apply the bonsai wire on the trunk only and not the branches. Otherwise, they might break. So, to keep the branches in check your only option is pruning. 

When your shoot has grown up to about twenty-four inches, and the trunks and branches look and feel strong enough, move the plant to a larger bonsai pot filled with special bonsai soil. At this point, your plant will be resembling the main plant in miniature form.  

Ensuring Optimum Growth Of Your Wisteria Bonsai

If growing or making a bonsai on your own seems like too much work, you can always get a full-grown wisteria bonsai from your local nursery or a bonsai store. However, that too comes with a minimal level of maintenance and regular care.

Let’s look into the best ways of taking care of your wisteria bonsai.  

Light and moisture

Wisteria bonsai will need a lot of sunlight when they are in a growing phase. Plus, flowering also requires a substantial amount of sunlight. Although the bigger plants can withstand icy temperatures, the bonsai forms cannot do so because of their roots. So, keep them in a garage or greenhouse during the winter. 

As mentioned earlier, a seedling will require a lot of moisture when it is growing. But make sure it doesn’t become waterlogged. If you are maintaining an already full-grown wisteria bonsai, the watering is pretty much the same.

Keep it moist but not soaked. And always make sure there are proper drainage holes under the pot. 

Fertilizer and Pruning 

The plants will require monthly or even weekly fertilizer during the growth periods. However, make sure not to use high-nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Because then you will get fewer flowers and more leaves. 

Prune your wisteria bonsai at the start of spring or after they have bloomed flowers. You will also need to defoliate the tree during summer. Because the canopy gets too thick during that time of the year and suffocates the tree.  

And while you do that, it’s important to distinguish between the flower buds and leaf buds. The flower buds sit on the shorter shoots, which you don’t want to cut. Also, don’t keep the number of seed pods in control. Because they draw too much energy from the plant. 

Conclusion 

Growing a wisteria bonsai or even maintaining a full-grown one takes a certain level of dedication. But those who love bonsai are happy to go through all these. Because they know that, the results of their labor and perseverance make it all worthwhile. 

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