Wisteria Propagation Methods

A branch of a colorful wisteria in the foreground, against more blurred flowers in the background.
What You'll Need
Plastic bags
Wisteria seedling rootstocks
Potting soil
Peat moss, sand, or vermiculite

You have wisteria in one spot, and you'd like to spread it to another. That's called propagation. Wisteria propagation occurs through four methods: seeds, cuttings, grafts, or layering. Of the three methods, seed propagation takes the longest.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Karen Thurber adds, "Chinese wisteria (wisteria sinensis) and Japanese wisteria (wisteria floribunda) are invasive species in the southern and eastern United States. Propagating the native American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is a good alternative."

Propagating Wisteria from Seeds

Harvest wisteria seeds in the fall just before they’re ready to pop. If they are to be planted immediately, either soak the seeds overnight or nick them to allow moisture to penetrate. If planting later, store seeds in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Plant them in 1 inch deep holes in potting soil and water and keep them moist. Wisteria seeds should germinate in about two weeks.

TIP: Karen cautions, "Wisteria seeds are toxic if large quantities are ingested. If storing in your refrigerator be sure to clearly label the container."

Keep in mind that the resulting plants will likely not resemble the parent plant much, if at all. In addition, be prepared to wait 7 to 15 years or more for wisteria grown from seeds to bloom, depending on the variety. While the timeframe from seed planting to bloom may seem incredibly long, consider the fact that this is the least expensive way to propagate wisteria. Many home gardeners say they thoroughly enjoy the process.

Wisteria from Cuttings

Take cuttings from soft wisteria stems in late summer. Dip them in rooting hormone and place them in peat moss, sand, or vermiculite, or a mixture of the three. Be sure to keep the planting medium moist. When the cuttings show signs of new growth it means roots are developing. Expect wisteria grown from cuttings to bloom in about two to three years, depending on variety.

TIP: Karen suggests, "Place a clear plastic bag over the cuttings to create a "greenhouse." This will help retain moisture until the cutting begin to root. Remove the plastic bag when roots begin to form. Keep in indirect sunlight to avoid overheating."

Grafting Wisteria

Propagating wisteria by this method involves grafting cultivars onto seedling rootstocks. If buying a grafted wisteria from a nursery, check to ensure a healthy graft union has taken place. There should be a clear “join” about 6 to 12 inches above soil level.

Some garden bloggers mention grafting a wisteria around a tree trunk, but this is not true grafting. It’s simply training the wisteria vine around a tree. While the tree acts as a support for the vigorously growing wisteria vine, eventually the vine may kill the tree.

Layering Method

Since wisteria is a vigorously growing vine, often one of the simplest methods is to look for the runners that extend along the ground of a 1-year-old stem. Where one has been soil bruised, leave the shoot tip above the soil line and cover the rest. It will begin to take root, but the time required will likely be up to a year. Then, sever the section and replant it in another spot. Garden aficionados recommend planting several of these, in order to wind up with at least one that will “take.”

These wisteria propagation methods are sure to help grow your garden.