How to Prune Wisteria Bonsai

It's currently the end of spring and most of the wisterias have finished flowering. This pink, Beni Fuji Wisteria has been flowering for about three weeks. There are many types of wisteria including Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria Floribunda), Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria Sinensis). As it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, it pays to know that the Japanese Wisteria coil their tendrills clockwise whereas Chinese Wisteria coil anticlockwise.
wisteria bonsai
This Wisteria has finished flowering. Sometimes I may let the Wisteria set seed so that I can collect and grow it. If I decide not to do that I just trim the seed off so that the tree doesn't spend energy producing seed.
wisteria bonsai flowering
This is a very old Wisteria and it has split in the middle. I will be air layering it to make another plant.
wisteria bonsiai split
This second example is a cascade style Wisteria. It has finished flowering and I have trimmed the flowers off but it hasn't started producing the tendrils yet.
flowering wisteria bonsai
This is a Chinese Wisteria that has just flowered. The tendrils on this plant are from last year and we will see new, long tendrils growing soon. I have deliberately left the long tendrils from last year because I want to make a bonsai from it. However, most people like to keep their Wisteria bonsais nice and compact.
chinese wisteria
I have a selection of Wisterias here imported from Japan. I wasnt to use these trees to show you how to prune Wisteria properly. This is a typical bonsai Wisteria. As you can see it has a lovely shape, but if you don't prune it, it will soon get out of control. This 70cm long tendril has just grown within the last week. If you are dealing with a bonsai like this you have two options. You can either let it grow to strengthen the plant, or you can choose to leave 4 nodes behind.
chinese wisteria bonsai
wisteria bonsai pruning
These buds in the leaf axil are next years flower buds. So as long as you dont cut those off, you can really cut the tree back to keep it nice and compact.
wisteria flower buds
If you want a thicker trunk, leave the tendrils to grow until around July or August. By that stage they will have grown long and helped the trunk to thicken.
wisteria bonsai trunk
Many people choose to soak their bonsai in a shallow tray or basin so they don't dry out. WIsterias are very vigorous plants and produce a lot of leaves. This can cause them to dry out quickly.
pruning wisteria bonsai
Once the WIsteria has finished flowering it will need a good feed. I like to use Japanese rapeseed fertiliser or even chicken manure. All you need to do is throw it on the surface and the tree will take what it needs from the soil. One heavy feed after flowering is sufficient.
wisteria bonsai