The Scourge of Wistaria Floribunda

May 21, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Recently I visited a historic home near the Wateree River.   Built in the 1840’s, it had a sturdy and attractive trellis which was probably planted with the wistaria still growing on it today. Sadly, the two showy Asian wistaria species, Japanese and Chinese,are both extremely invasive in the United States. Dr. Michael Dirr, an authority on woody plants, states, “In the South, they are pernicious pests and Wistaria floribunda can be found strangling everything in its grasp.” He adds, “It must be used with a certain amount of discretion and commitment to proper culture and pruning.” The commitment I recommend is cutting the vine and painting it with an approved herbicide and planting the native variety instead. At the estate I toured, the surrounding woods were completely covered with mature vines which kill trees and shrubs by strangling them and blocking sunlight.