Transplanting a Wisteria

Wisteria can grow to heights of 25 feet and 10 feet or more in width. Because it is a climbing and flowering vine, this plant poses some unique problems when it comes time to transplant. 

Once Established, Wisteria Likes to Stay Put

Wisteria experts discourage transplanting this fast-growing trailing vineWhy. ? While it may appear to take the transplanting in stride, it will often take several years to recover its vigor and get back up to prime flowering stage. For this reason, it’s best to decide ahead of time where to situate your wisteria—and then leave it in that spot.

If it becomes absolutely necessary to transplant a wisteria already in the landscape, do so in the winter when the plant is dormant and leafless (depending on climate). Since wisteria develops a huge root ball, be prepared to do a lot of digging to get it out of the ground. Again, this is not recommended. Some types of wisteria never recover from transplanting.

Easiest Wisteria to Transplant

While wisteria generally does not take well to transplanting, there are a few varieties that will survive the move and shock. Balled and burlapped wisteria or nursery container-grown wisteria are the easiest and best wisteria to transplant and, frankly, the best way to have this spectacular specimen vine in the garden landscape.

Transplant outdoors during the spring. Some container-grown vines will transplant fine any time of the year so long as the climate is forgiving and there is no chance of frost. Choose a sunny location and prepare the planting bed with enough nutrients and soil amendments to give the wisteria a good head start. Dig a hole 2 to 3 feet in diameter and about 24 inches deep. Mix peat moss, compost or processed manure directly into the existing soil. Make sure there’s adequate drainage and give the wisteria a little fertilizer boost. Of course, since wisteria grows to a height of 25 feet, you must stake it immediately. Otherwise, this twining vine will crawl along the ground and quickly envelop anything in its path.

What About Seedlings?

If seedlings are ready to transplant, there are several choices depending on how big they are. Transplant when the seedling has its first true leaves and a little root growth. At that time, first transplant seedlings into 3-inch pots. After a few more weeks to get larger, you can move them outdoors. In warmer climates, you can sow seeds outdoors; seedlings will begin to grow the following spring.

Keep in mind that wisteria grown from seeds can take up to 15 years to flower. If this is too long to wait, buy container-grown plants from a reputable nursery.