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Wisteria bonsai: who to believe?!

I have a eight year old japanese wisteria that I started from seed. It has been kept small because I wanted to eventually bonsai it. The problem is the proffesionals I have asked have completely opposite views of how to propagate flowers. One, a local nursery-that-specializes-in-bonsai owner told me that wisteria are grown for their foliage! That surprised me because everyone talks about their beautiful, aromatic blooms. (Mine has never bloomed--although it is of age.) He told me they need lots of space for their roots, and that their roots should be cut back drastically in spring. Both agreed that "old ladies in Kentucky beat their wisteria with canes". (That the more drastically you trim the foliage the more blossoms you will get. Both also said "lots of water" and an incredible amount of fertilizer-- cakes of it on the soil and liquid fertilizer (4-25-35) every time you water. The website even said to keep it in a tray of standing water with the above liquid fertilizer in the tray)! The website I checked (Bunyabashi.com) says "they are grown solely for their blossoms". If grown as bonsai their roots should be tightly coiled in a small pot with a fine mesh over the drainage hole so that they are kept confined. The smaller the better. They need you to restrict their foliage growth, pruning back almost to the lignified wood! Soil should be dense, not typical bonsai soil. The website also said to trigger blooms for next spring, in mid-summer, take the tree out of water till the tips of leaves begin to wither, then water well and return to tray. This cycle should be done every 4-7 days for 3-4 cycles. Keep dormant in winter. Both grow beautiful japanese wisteria that bloom every spring (after age seven of course!) Any other advice on bonsai-ing wisteria? Who should I trust-- local grower whose trees I have seen and love, or Japanese web-guru whose favorite bonsai is wisteria? Any thoughts?[/b][/i]

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Location: Minnesota zone 4

I think I would go with the web site guy. I had a wisteria a few years ago. I let the thing get rootbound. No repot for five years. Would let the soil dry to as hard as a brick before watering. Then in the spring I would dose it with superphosphate. No Nitrogen at all. The tree bloomed for four years, didn,t grow an inch, and went to an early grave. It was pretty while it lasted.


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Re: Wisteria bonsai: who to believe?!

Foilage or Bloom, it is only personal preference. No need to argue about.

Wisteria is a very root vigorious plant therefore it does need a lot of space for root. If it is in a pot it will get root bound very quick. So repot every year is ok for young wisteria.

So how to make the wisteria flower... As long as the plant feel comfortable and keep growing, it won't bloom. it just keep growing foilage. Flowering for plant is spending money in the bank. How can you make it spend its "money". When the tree thinks that it is in trouble or going to die then it will flower. To hit it with a stick, not to repot it in many many years, overwater or even put it in water are ways to stress the plant. If the plant is stressed then it will give out more flower buds.

Since wisteria is a vigorious plants. It need a lot of water and fertilizer. Each year water and fertilze the tree and let grow (foilage, vine....) and in late summer cut the vine back to three nodes. At that time the tree should storge a lot of energy and hopefully it is going to form flower buds at the end of the vine. For me I will repot my wisteria when it is necessary, that is when it is root bound seriously.

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