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Growing wisteria in a pot
Why is it that just as my wisteria reaches its peak the weather breaks and we get night after night of cold weather and frost?!
After buying a wistera and not being able to find the right home for it, I decided to experiment by training it as a standard, in a large terracotta pot. I trained the main by tying it to a strong wooden stake, bending shoots round and weaving them together to create a domed head – rather like an umbrella on top of the main stem.
Pruning has simply involved shortening the long wispy side shoots back to about 20cm during summer (July is perfect), and then cutting these stems back further to about 5cm during winter. Pruning twice a year in this way not only controls the mass of new growth that develops each year, but also encourages flowers to form at the base of each of these pruned shoots.
I regularly hear of people whose wisteria won’t flower, but my plant flowers very reliably. Perhaps growing it in a pot helps, along with correct pruning, and feeding with a high potash tomato fertiliser during summer to encourage flower bud development.
All this is really irrelevant if at the very moment the flowers are coming to their peak the weather changes for the worse. Frost can damage flower buds and young new shoots, so I haven’t been leaving things to chance. When frosts were forecast last week I decided to throw a large sheet of fleece right over the wisteria in the evening, removing it again when conditions had warmed up the next day.
It’s useful keeping a sheet of fleece handy during May just in case of frost. A covering will keep off a light frost, protecting blossom and buds from damage. So while it might not be possible to protect a wisteria trained to an arch or pergola, my modestly sized standard wisteria in a pot can be given protection. And long may it bloom.
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