Wisteria winter tolerance

treebeard55

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After a couple of hours searching the web, I'm just going to post my question and hope someone with experience can answer.

A friend of mine wants to get rid of some in-ground wisterias, Wisteria sinensis I believe. They're decent size, my wife loves wisteria flowers, and all it would cost me is the gas to get to his place and the time and effort to dig one.

But I've been unable to find definitive information on the amount of cold a wisteria can tolerate. Harry Harrington advises not letting them get colder than -5 C (about 23 F) because of the water content of the roots. Plant-hardiness sites list wisterias as hardy to USDA zone 5. And maybe I haven't yet looked far enough, but that's all I've been able to find. <frustrated>

In a "normal" winter here, we're supposed to allow for lows down to -20 F (about -29 C.) We've haven't seen that every winter, of course, but that's what must be allowed for.

Any feedback is welcome, particularly from anyone with wisteria experience in a similar climate. Thanks!
 

jk_lewis

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If your friend lives near you that should answer at least some of your question. But if heshe lives some distance south of you, it is unlikely that W. sinensis will survive -- even in the ground. It certainly won't survive in a pot.

Mine here have done OK at single digit nighttime temperatures. But -20F is a heckuva lot colder.
 

grog

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I planted a wisteria sinensis at mom and dad's two or three years ago and I was visiting this weekend and it's budding back again. It's on a chain link fence, not particularly protected, zone 5 also.
 

Roberts

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I have a couple in pots (not really bonsai) in zone 5 Iowa. I just set them on the ground and mulch over the pots and they seem to do fine. Had them for three winters now,

Robert
 

sfhellwig

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I have a Caroline Wisteria (floribunda) and their Wiki pages claim Japanese and Chinese are the same hardiness. I had it in a large pot on some bricks and the bugger escaped into the ground. So I left it at the NE corner of the house with just mulch on the top of the pot and around the base. We took a full zone 6 winter and it doesn't appear to have taken any damage at all. It's bud breaking all the way to the tips. Last year it was in the same pot buried halfway into the ground. I'm a full zone warmer but I'm not worried about mine until I put it in a MUCH smaller pot. That may be a bit confident but wisteria doesn't have ANY problems here. I haven't seen one in a small pot but it seems most people keep them pretty large anyway.
 

rockm

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In a container, wisteria sinensis should be protected ---heavily mulched or otherwise--from temperatures that get much below 15 F for exended periods. They are extremely tough plants, however.

That said, the further north you move, the less vigorous they are. Here in Va. they are extremely common and hardy. I collected one that has withstood below zero temps unprotected for a day or so...
 

treebeard55

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Thanks for the responses so far. My friend's place is almost due west, less than an hour's drive away, so the winters are the same.

Wisteria are not common in landscaping here, and the ones you do see are not overwhelmingly large -- 8-10 feet high, maybe a little more -- and usually in the shelter of the town. Still bloom beautifully, tho.

These wisterias will be discarded if not taken, so I may just get one, give it the best winter care I can, and see what happens...

Any other thoughts, anyone?
 

mcpesq817

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What do you do for winter protection now? Do you have a garage or some other structure to shelter your trees from the cold and wind?

For what it's worth, I live in zone 7 so my winters are quite a bit warmer than yours on average. I chopped a wisteria growing at my parent's house last August that was originally about 6' wide and 10' tall down to about 4', and stored it in my detached garage this winter without any issues. My garage generally stayed between 35 and 40, though a few evenings it touched down around freezing. It's been budding out like crazy now, even getting backbudding in new areas up and down the trunk.
 

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