Wisteria sinensis is a species of deciduous vine plants that are native to various regions of China. Due to this, it is also known as the ‘Chinese wisteria’ and is a popular flowering plant in the region. It belongs to the genus Wisteria which is home to less than 10 species with most of them being native to China.
The plants are very beautiful and grow flowers in a variety of beautiful colors such as white, violet, blue, etc. The flowers grow on racemes and emerge before the leaves during spring. Along with being aesthetically appealing, the flowers also emulate a smell that is similar to grapes. This is one of the identifying features of this plant.
Apart from this, the plant itself contains a glycoside known as wisterin which is harmful to humans. The toxic substance is present throughout the plants and can cause irritation in the stomach, vomiting, and other issues. That being said, these plants are quite hardy and grow up to 250 years in age.
Wisteria sinensis trees are becoming more popular by the day when it comes to bonsai. Because of their lovely blossoms, many bonsai growers are steadily developing these trees.
This guide was created to assist bonsai enthusiasts in learning more about the Wisteria sinensis Bonsai Tree’s maintenance.
How long does it take to grow Wisteria sinensis Bonsai?
Wisteria sinensis bonsai are fast-growing deciduous trees that are known to grow to maturity within 10 years. This means that the seed will be mature enough for cutting within 10 years of planting your bonsai. That being said, this is affected by various factors such as the kind of pot used, temperature, watering, etc.
Now, let’s get into the specifics about how to cultivate, care for, and plant your Wisteria sinensis bonsai.
Position and lighting
Wisteria sinensis bonsai should be kept in full sun conditions throughout most of the year. This is especially important during the growing seasons as the sunlight will be beneficial for promoting growth. They can grow outside throughout most of the year and even in earlier winter months.
However, while they are hardy against frost when grown naturally, this is not the case as bonsai. This is because the roots are much more exposed to the elements. As the roots are not as resistant, you should bring your bonsai indoors during colder months and utilize artificial heating to keep it safe.
Wisteria sinensis bonsai grow well in most temperate climates and can be kept outside in spring and summer. They are resistant to hotter temperatures and can also handle winter temperatures easily. The only issue that you may face is the build-up of frost on the roots which is why colder environments should be avoided.
Any normal soil mix for bonsai can be used with the Wisteria sinensis as long as it is slightly acidic. Preferably, a pH level between 5.5 and 6 will work well.
Water your Wisteria sinensis often, especially during the warm months. They require lots of water to stay healthy and grow at a fast pace. Also, regular watering protects the edges of the leaves from drying out and becoming damaged. During the winter, though, make careful to water less frequently.
A great way to keep the tree watered during winter is by misting instead of watering. So, all you have to do is mist your tree’s roots occasionally and make sure to only wet them slightly. This will keep them moist while also avoiding any frost formation.
Feeding is an important part of growing a bonsai and provides your tree with important nutrients. For the Wisteria sinensis, you can use a solid organic fertilizer once every month diluted to half power. On the other hand, you can use a liquid fertilizer once a week while also diluting it to half strength. The only thing you should look for when choosing a fertilizer is that it is low in nitrogen as too much can be harmful.
How to Plant and Grow Wisteria sinensis Bonsai
You’re interested in learning how to grow and plant Wisteria sinensis bonsai. Awesome! Let’s look at how to grow your own Wisteria sinensis bonsai in more depth.
There are many ways to propagate the Wisteria sinensis bonsai with cuttings from seeds being the most common. This is because it is the easiest method and can be done by most beginners. However, if you do this, you will need a bonsai that is more than 10 years old as seedlings don’t flower before this.
Apart from cuttings, you can also use air layering or grated plants for propagation. While being more effort, these methods will get you blossoms much sooner.
Pruning and wiring
Pruning involves cutting off excess outgrowths and branches that may have grown on your bonsai. This process is important for maintaining the structure of your bonsai as well as limiting its size. A lack of pruning can lead to a haphazard branch structure and a bonsai that is too large on the top.
As for the Wisteria sinensis, hard pruning is important to cut off the many branches that grow in it during early spring. So, pruning can be done in spring or post-flowering and you should cut the new tendrils back. Also, once leaves have fallen, you can trim the branches to reduce the overall structure and make it more compact.
With this species, an important thing you should remember is that the canopy can get too dense. This can lead to a lack of light reaching the center which is often problematic. So, make sure to maintain the canopy at a level that is safe for the whole tree. Seed pods should also be pruned as they take a lot of energy from the bonsai.
When it comes to wiring, Wisteria sinensis bonsai should not be wired for too long as it can leave marks. That being said, if you do plan on wiring, it shouldn’t be done until your bonsai has bloomed.
Repotting is a process where you put your bonsai in a new pot. It is done to reduce the overall root structure which is essential for rowing a tree as a bonsai. For the Wisteria sinensis, repotting should be done every two years when it is young. As your bonsai gets older, repotting can be done every four or five years depending on the root growth.
As for the repotting process itself, it is quite easy and can be done by most beginners. First, remove your bonsai, as well as all the surrounding roots and soil, from its pot. Trim the excess roots using trimmers and make sure you don’t cut any of the central roots. This will help in reducing the root outgrowths and fit the bonsai into a pot. You can then re-pot your bonsai and fill in the space with fresh soil.
Once you have repotted your bonsai, make sure to provide it with ample amounts of water for its growth. Also, fertilizer will aid in promoting growth at this time.
How to Care for Your Wisteria sinensis Bonsai
During their early years, it is best to keep Wisteria sinensis bonsai protected from colder weather for optimal health. While they can deal with frost, the bonsai have exposed roots which can often be damaged in freezing weather. Also, slightly acidic soil with a PH level between 5.5-6 is suggested.
Wisteria sinensis bonsai should be in full sun conditions in the outdoors for the best growth. This can is fine for most of the year except for in winter due to frost. That being said, an artificial heating and lighting system will work fine.
They should be watered regularly during winters and also misted occasionally if possible. As for reporting, Wisteria sinensis bonsai can be repotted every 2-3 years while gradually shifting to smaller pots for acclimation.
Pests are a common problem with bonsai, and while it isn’t as bad with Wisteria sinensis bonsai, you’ll still have to keep an eye out for a few creatures. Here are some pests that the Wisteria sinensis are susceptible to:
- Leaf spot – Leaf spot is a disease that affects plants and is caused by fungus or bacteria. The disease causes discoloration in leaves and can ruin the overall appeal of a bonsai. Due to the varying causes, you should first find out what caused the condition before you can fix it efficiently.
- Aphids – These small insects are very harmful for all bonsai as they suck sap. This means that they gradually drain the life out of your plant and will stunt growth immensely. Thankfully, they are easy to get rid of with insecticidal soaps or even alcohol sprays.
- Root Rot – Root rot is caused by excessive irrigation and poor drainage. If your bonsai is infected, the roots will decay and turn brown, and the foliage will turn yellow. Branch strength will deteriorate in more severe cases, and your bonsai’s growth will be stunted to the point of death.
- Powdery Mildew – This is a fungus that attacks a large range of plants. It is easy to find and while it spreads quickly, can be treated with basic products.