Wisteria in need of help

Things seem to be a bit quiet on the gardening section but just incase there’s anyone out there. I have a very old wisteria growing over my front gate and wall, always done well. Now about a quarter of it has died, no idea why. If any one has any advice I can post a photo of it. Thanks.

Hi Suzy

I always thought of Wisteria as bomb-proof… and certainly Stella-proof… but it appears that problems do arise… this RHS website might be helpful to you… you will probably have to do some detective work on leaves/stems/soil etc… but hopefully you will be able to sort it out…


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Does the entire plant come from one stem from the root, or has it layered itself into the surrounding soil over the years so that it has roots in more than one place ? If the latter, then it could be that the oldest part of the plant has just come to the end of its natural life.
I’d recommend cutting out all the obviously dead material to remove any disease that may be present, and then cut back all the side shoots to within 3 or 4 buds of the main stems.
Additionally, apply a handful of granular fertilizer around (but not touching) the plant now, and then do the same again in early Spring. This should stimulate the plant into producing an abundance of flowers next year.

If the plant is very old like you say then it is not unusual for all or part of it to die, there was a newspaper article that I read a while back about this problem and nobody really knew the answer why it happens.

Gosh,thanks for all your fast replies, here’s a photo. The dead end is supporting the rest of it so if I cut it off I’ll need some other support, but if its diseased I suppose I’ll have to. The main trunk is on the right. I had a gardener come round who suggested I grow another one in a pot to fill up the space, which would grow over the old wood. And putting wires up for support. He’s asking 750 euros.

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Hi Stella, Thanks for that link. It may need the hard pruning as the rhs suggest but I’d be worried doing it myself incase I cut off too much. I don’t think it was pruned properly by the previous owners, so there’s a lot of wood . It always flowers though.

Has it died back or did no growth occur on the ‘dead’ part this year? Save your €750, planting another in a pot is an odd idea and if the rest of the plant is healthy it will quickly fill the gap, just train it in that direction.

I too have one of those grey, furry, wisteria climbing creatures. I hope that they are not responsible for damaging the plants! :slight_smile:


Lovely cat! I think the only thing you can do is to cut away what is dead as much as possible, that is what I have had to do with mine which as it is vvv old and all over a pergola mixed in with an enormous banksia isn’t easy.

Lovely cat, excellent picture! I have The Orange One, dealer of death, climber of everything…

Hello David, the very extreme end died last year then the rest of the now dead part lost all the leaves, the wood can be broken off so I don’t think anything will grow from it. I did think of training the good bit over which is why you can see tendrils hanging down. I also found the idea of growing one in a pot odd.

It wasn’t until we moved to France that I realized the wisteria would bloom again and again… so long as it is pruned after flowers fade. Our village is awash with the purple blooms throughout the year. Glorious…

I do hope you manage to keep your one going. It has been a difficult year for many varieties of trees/shrubs and flowers… due to the vagaries of the seasons… so take heart…

Yes but the whole thing is supported by the dead bit leaning on my neighbours wall. So did yours live after you cut it? She is a lovely cat, my neighbours, she climbs everywhere and she’s almost blind, she’s not old but can only see vague shapes…cats are amazing

It seems to be impossible to get a decent gardener, they’re either ‘paysagistes’ and won’t touch such a menial job or they’re a man with a chain saw who massacres everything.

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My neighbour had a couple of wisterias in her garden growing over small arches. Last year she had the arches extended from about 70-80cm wide to over three metres. The artisan who did the work told her to cut the wisterias right back and this summer they grew to cover the structures almost completely, somethin* that she had expected to take four or five years. Mature wisterias seem to thrive on rigorous pruning.
Support your plant, cut away the dead wood then leave it to sort itself out.

Yes it has all sorts of shoots which appeared from the roots underground. The main trunk was as thick as a stocky person and about 4 or 5 metres tall, the new shoots are about as thick as a thumb.

Here is my trunk. What concerns me is a couple of years back I cut back a couple of branches as they were growing too far out and there was no sign of life from them after.

Usually in most plabts, and humans, of a certain age, TLC is required.

From your picture it’s difficult to assess its habitat. But I’d geuss it hasn’t a great deal of growing room to have it’s daily stretch?

I have an abundance of different trees , shrubs and alpines and over many years have, as suggested always removed the dead growth and foliage from plant and base area of the plants.

Top dressing and feeding is a must for just about everything no matter how hardy

Botanical Wizzkid
D G Hessayon has been my best pal and saviour in the garden for many years. In this case Hessayon ‘Tree and Shrub Expert’ is worth a trip to the library if you’re as old as me. Or have a look on Amazon?

The cost appx £8. Good luck

Thanks Brian I’ve found the book on Amazon. I must say I have never fed or dressed the wisteria, what do you suggest I put on it and when. I will definitely start doing that and for my other plants. I’ve found some shrubs don’t do well in my garden so I put them in pots where they thrive. Have no problems with flowers growing apart from the dreaded snails.

Hi Suzy, I inherited a wisteria that had been planted in the early 1970’s in a property I purchased in the Corrèze in early 2017. I was lucky to meet the seller of the property who advised me that it had never ever flowered in all that time. I set to work in the February and cut it all back to 2 or 3 buds, a job that took me almost a full day, I was bestowed with one flower last April, I was cock -a-hoop, I have fed it monthly with a high potash feed and know I will have a glorious display this coming year. Follow your healthy growth back to the main stem and obviously ensure that this stem is kept, don’t be afraid to cut the dead wood out, wisteria is so rampant it will fill in given time, always prune each branch/stem back to 2 or 3 shoots at most after flowering (in July/Aug) and cut back again in Jan/Feb it will thank you for it. This is the third wisteria I have successfully Kick started over the years - they are hardy creatures. Oh, lastly you don’t need to give anyone 750 euros to help, you can do it so easily, if you were near to me I would come round and do it for you for free. Bon courage!

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I hope you don’t mind me butting in, on the plant food front there is no finer food anywhere than Richard Jacksons flower power available from QVC in the UK and in France (although it is dearer here), you can watch the video footage on the product on the QVC website. I have used it for 10 plus years and it is truly amazing, it revives anything and provides hanging baskets to die for - it has a very high potash content which is what a plant needs to provide more flowers, it is also fab on tomatoes and soft fruit, giving an amazing yield, I couldn’t be without it.