Growing Wisteria on a Tree


Hi there! I live in Toronto (South York) and have been looking through the Wisteria page for something that would help my predicament, but haven’t found a situation similar to mine.
I would like to grow American wisteria around a 35-40 foot established old Linden tree. The tree is huge and beautiful way up in the canopy but I would like to beautify the 20-something foot trunk.
I want to create a circle raised garden around it large enough for American wisteria.
Is this advisable?



Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.  Generally it is not advisable to grow vines on trees.  Heavy vines such as wisteria can kill trees.  Wisteria tend to circle the tree trunk which will end up strangling the tree.  As they grow, they compete for space and sunlight.  Once the tree’s foliage is overrun, the tree can no longer benefit from the photosynthesis process and is on its way to starvation and eventual death.  As well, vines can hide structural damage or hazards such as a decayed area on a tree.

If you would still like to grow a vine on your tree, virgin’s bower (native clematis) or cultivars/hybrids of clematis are an option.  You might need to support it with bamboo sticks or a  trellis before it attaches to the trunk. The vine needs to be managed by cutting it back to keep it confined to the trunk and not allowing it to grow on the limbs as this adds weight and can change the tree’s center of gravity as well as shade the tree’s leaves.  Fallen leaves and other plant debris may harbor disease so they should be removed from the bottom of the tree. If your tree starts to show signs of distress, the vine needs to be taken out.


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