Wisteria Floribunda Kuchibeni

Pretty well up there as my favourite flower is the Wisteria.  The only down side is its short show – one week and it is all over.  That is, unless you have lots of varieties and two locations.  Perth is much warmer than Bridgetown so Wisteria flower earlier in Perth and Kuchibeni is an early bloomer.   We have Kuchibeni growing across our house in Perth and, for the last week, it has been spectacular.   Next week, when we go back, it will be all over.

For those who don’t know, there are, at least, three species of Wisteria: American, Japanese and Chinese.

Japanese Wisteria are known as Wisteria Floribunda, Chinese Wisteria as Wisteria Sinensis and American Wisteria as Wisteria Frutescens and Wisteria Macrostachya.

The easiest way to tell Floribunda and Sinensis apart is Wisteria Floribunda twine clockwise and Wisteria Sinensis twine anti-clockwise. I don’t know what the American Wisteria do.

Wisteria Floribunda Kuchibeni, our star today, is a pale pink Japanese Wisteria.  It is also known as Carnea and Lipstick.  It has pale mauve- pink flowers on long racemes. It is sweetly scented with good autumn foliage.

Peter Valder, in his wonderful book, Wisterias  A Comprehensive Guide, describes it more fully, as follows:

‘The leaves have 9 – 15 leaflets, pale green when young.  It is among the earliest to bloom, the racemes being 36 – 45 cm long with 76 – 86 flowers; scent moderate; floral bracts tinged with purple; pedicels 1.5 – 2.5 cm, pale green, sometimes tinged purple towards their ends; calyx pale greyish purple; standard pale mauve – pink, 1.8 – 2.0 cm broad, conspicuously pubescent at the top inside and around the claw outside, sometimes with a few hairs extending up the mid – line; wings and keel a similar colour but purple at their tips.  The pods are 9.0 – 21.5 cm long with 1 – 5 seeds, tan finely spotted with black. The autumn colour is good clear yellow.’

14 thoughts on “Wisteria Floribunda Kuchibeni

  1. Hi Glenda, I have been reading the previous questions and your expert advice in your replies. However the one topic I had hoped you had covered did not appear. I have purchased a Kuchi-Beni which I had thought I would plant in a courtyard up against one of the house walls. Information I have since read about wisterias and their root system have me now very worried about the invasive roots and the damage they can cause. Also read where the branches can bring down pergolas! Two worrying aspects. Having seen your beautiful Wisteria in full bloom planted (what appears to be) close to your house, I am wondering if there is a difference in the the root system of the Chinese and Japanese species. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Karen, I don’t know about Wisterias root systems, I will need to check my Wisteria book. I am sorry but my book is in Bridgetown and I am in Perth at the moment. I will email you next week (Wednesday or Thursday) after I have checked. From my personal experience, roots haven’t caused any problems. Now, as to branches, I do know that they are very strong so you will need a very stable pergola to support it. If it is flimsy the wisteria will most certainly pull it out of shape but if the pergola is of good quality and you prune your wisteria regularly to the shape you want, it should be ok. Once a Wisteria is established it is there to stay so it is very important to ensure it is pruned well when it is young.

  2. Our 3 Wisteria plants are all growing beautifully, are lush with plenty of green growth, but we are yet to see them bloom. They are about 4 years old. Do you think they’re still too young to flower?

    • Hi Judy.
      My book by Peter Valder offers the following advice:
      1. Wisterias do not flower until they are 3-5 years old. So yours are about the right age.
      2. They require full sun. I know for a fact they will not flower unless they are getting 100% sun.
      3. If you are giving them too much fertiliser and water they may be devoting too much energy to growth rather than to the development of flower buds. They do not need much of either.
      4. If you are pruning your plants, make sure, when you cut off a shoot, you leave 2 or 3 leaves. This will encourage the development of spurs which will produce flowers.

  3. Ah, wisteria…if only I could grow these so-called easy-to-grow beauties! Have tried four times previously..they grow like mad through the first summer and then curl up their toes in Autumn and go to that great compost heap in heaven. But (and it’s a big but) I’m trying again with a white wisteria, which I planted a couple of months back and in the last couple of days is getting its first leaves. Fingers crossed!

    • Hi Julie
      Thanks for commenting. The Wisteria will strangle your tree. After it has flowered I would cut it back to where it should be. You can be as ruthless as you like. Wisterias need to be pruned consistently when they are young to grow how, and where, you want them to be. As they get older they do not need so much pruning.

  4. We have a deck around two sides of the front of our house, and a pergola over much of the deck – and on the back side of the deck, we have both a Japanese and a Chinese Wisteria growing up over the pergola – the branches are very aggressive, and I’m constantly trimming them – they used to be really nice as they’d bloom and drop down thru the top of the pergola – but in the last few years, they’ve not been dropping down and hanging – it seems like the blossoms are forming on top of the pergola rather than dropping down thru – maybe it’s just too thick up there. I don’t know what’s wrong actually. I’ve been thinking of cutting back the branches all the way back to where the trunks enter the top of the pergola, and let it form new branches – that would also allow me to give the pergola a few coats of preservative again! Do you think that might do the trick?

    Yours is an especially full and frilly one, isn’t it! I love their smell.

    • Hi Doc. I just checked out my trusty book, which states: ‘Old plants, or plants which have grown in an unwanted manner, may be rejuvenated by cutting them back drastically, almost to ground level if desired.‘ So the answer to your question is ‘yep, go for it’. Of course, you won’t get any flowers for a while. If you want to prune and get flowers, cut back to a spur, ie, leave 2-3 buds. That reduces bulk and you still get flowers.

      • Yeah, that’s what I’ll do then – thanks! I think I’ll cut everything back except for a few bigger branches, and that way we’ll have some bloom come spring. It’s really quite an interesting plant – we treat ours as a climbing ‘vine’, and I’ve seen them as trees – but I think at heart, it really wants to be an unruly bush!

        • Doc, you can train them as you wish. We have a massive arbour with wisteria trained over it and a path lined with standards. You have to be ruthless when they are young but, as they get older, they tame down a lot – a lot like people, I guess.

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