You will need:
Young Wisteria plant
Multi purpose compost
10L or 15L pot
A very strong support for
the plant when in the large pot, not bamboo as this will rot,
it will need to be in the pot for about 2 years. This needs
to be clear of the compost by the ultimate height of the standard
plants clear stem.
Alternatively you could
plant the Wisteria in it's final position and do all the
training there. In this case substantial metal supports that
will last for years will need to be put in place from the start.
This will look rather odd for a while though (couple of years)
like you have some scrap iron in the garden.
Substantial metal support
for the tall and heavy plant.
had this idea at the back of my head that it would be a good
idea to train and grow a standard Wisteria. I like Wisteria
and I like some plants that are trained as standards. It also
seemed like a good long term challenge as they are significantly
larger and longer growing than most plants that are commonly
trained as standards.
I also read something once about
the Victorians growing standard Wisteria in parks and how some
of them having become mature and self-supporting had "substantial
pieces of ironwork" amongst the twisted trunks.
A serendipitous trip to a garden
centre meant that I saw a poor little unwanted Wisteria in the "cheap
and poorly plants" corner. I wasn't really looking
for one, but it seemed it was time to begin.
Step one with standards is a bit
nerve wracking as it entails cutting off all shoots bar one
which is to be the leader and trained up the support - so here
I wanted to go to about 6 feet before I allowed the plant to
start to spread horizontally I needed to put in a strong support
which itself needed to be firmly held in the pot.
an off cut of hardwood (decking board as it happened) onto the
end of a broom handle and planted them into a 10L pot. The little
Wisteria was a bit lost to start with but grew into it's
There is now about a 2 year gap while it grew strongly up
and outwards - this co-incided with a lack of photographs I'm
afraid, so you have to imagine the interim stages!
initial broom handle wasn't long enough especially as
part of it was in a pot, so I had to add another bit onto it
with some builders-band and wood screws to take it to the required
6 feet. I also attached a wooden X to the top with wires in
between to encourage the shoots to grow around.
let the plant grow outwards rather than upwards, this will be
its final height. You will not be able to grow it higher than
this as it sets the clear stem.
The whole thing was quite elaborate and large at this time
and so the ends of two arms of the X were attached to the back
of my house by screws to stop the whole thing blowing over.
It had also progressed to a 15L pot by now too
the rocking back and forth caused the spliced and screwed connection
to fail, as the end of the wooden broom handle in the compost
was starting to rot it seemed like the plant was telling me
it was time to put it in the garden.
With help I transported
it down the garden to where it was to be planted (above picture).
Luckily the main stem was strong enough not to have suffered
damage too, but we had to be careful as the whole plant was
very top-heavy by now and could easily be broken.
the state of the wooden supports after just a couple of years,
I decided it was time to use some metal work to support the
plant from now on.
I found some metal rods about 4 feet
long that screwed together and so fortunately had a thread in
the top too to take a bolt which held the supportive metal X.
This would take the place of the wooden support. If I was to
do this again I'd use a metal support from the outset.
I have no idea what I would have used if I hadn't had
these items lying around I'm afraid so cannot suggest anything.
It was a case of I stopped looking when I found the ideal thing.
The metal X was to support the already placed wooden X at the
top of the wooden vertical
dug my planting hole, deeper than the 15L pot that the Wisteria
was in and at least twice the volume of this pot. I cut
a circle out of the turf first as it is due to start off life
in the lawn - it may in the future be either stand-alone, or
I may decide to attach it to a pergola according to whim and
/ or how it gets on in the meantime.
One of the screw together
metal rods was bashed in with a lump hammer using a piece of
wood to protect the end. getting the depth right was crucial
here as was measuring carefully the height of the plant above
ground level. It was like I was going to keep the roof and chimney
in place, but temporarily remove the supporting walls, if the
new ones were too tall or too short, things would be a bit of
the support vertical was difficult too, a job that took quite
a long time and much careful measuring with tape and spirit
The hole was now ready to take the plant. First
of all I half filled it with well rotted garden compost and
mixed it in before making a hole again a little larger than
the pot the Wisteria was in.
Again (sorry) there are no pictures of the stages whereby
the Wisteria is detached from its old support, planted and attached
to the new support. There were two of us doing this job and
we had at least one arm too few between us (although we did
have the normal compliment of 2 lots of 2), so there was no
opportunity to take pictures while it was in progress.
sequence of events was to slide out the old support pole and
then remove the plant pot. One person then carried the pot and
another the top growth placing it carefully onto the new metal
X at the top of the metal support.
Very carefully the root
ball was wound around the new metal support so that the stem
spiralled up it in the same way that it had around the previous
wooden support. This was a very tricky job as the root ball
was very heavy and the stem quite easily snapped by the weights
and forces needed to move it all.
Eventually though we managed it, the root ball was suitable
planted in the soil/compost mix without pulling on the stem
or pushing it up too far.
The wooden supporting X (about twice as long as the new metal
one) was attached atop the metal one and I breathed a sigh of
At this point it will be nigh on impossible to replace the
metal supports, so they need to be strong enough and placed
firmly enough to never need replacing.
All that remains is to wait for it to flower!