Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.


One of the things that brings on bouts of romanticism in gardeners is the wisteria-draped pergola. This is mine. It took a number of years to get this plant trained up and over. But here it is this year, with mature (that is, big) bloom. And it is breathtaking, worth the wait. Northern gardeners are often frustrated because of the tenderness of wisteria buds in winter, often leaving them with all plant, no bloom in spring. The tag says it’s hardy, but the blooms don’t come, which after all is the reason why you planted it. I’m in Zone 5, and this is a picture of Blue Moon, one of the hardiest and best. Lavender Falls is another good one. It is a reblooming wisteria, which means even if you get some winter damage, you’re likely to get some bloom later in the season.

ablogNew plants come along every year. I eagerly read about them in winter and seek out those that sound like they’re the best of the best for my home garden.

Sometimes I’m disappointed by the marketing claims: that first-ever “blue-flowering” variety may not be all that blue, that new perennial may not turn out to be as hardy as they say, or that plant with those gorgeous blossoms may be a really shy bloomer.

But then the plants come along that live up to their hype. One I’m pretty psyched about right now is Lavender Falls wisteria (Wisteria floribunda ‘Betty Tam’).

What’s so cool about it? The supplier, Greenleaf Nursery, told me it’s a reblooming variety. And it actually is — I took this photo last week.

I’ve had Lavender Falls for two years now in my Zone 5a garden, so it seems to have passed the hardiness test (though it did die back nearly to the ground last winter). It hasn’t bloomed in spring for me, but I have enjoyed the lovely flowers in July, August, and September. I’m hoping for a batch yet this October.

The bad news is that it’s an Asian wisteria, so it may show invasive tendencies in some areas (especially the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic). That means I’ll keep an eye out on it, and I may need to rip it out if it looks like it may become a problem in Iowa (happily, I’ve not yet seen it produce a single seed).

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