The long-lived, deciduous twining vine grows fifteen to twenty feet, and is admired for its gnarly growth habit. It produces amazing clusters of fragrant, cascading purple, white, and lilac flowers that bloom over a long period of time, beginning in spring. The Chinese wisteria has shiny, oblong green leaves with seven to thirteen individual leaflets. Its flowers are actually racemes that drape and hang down from the vine, giving the air a sweet grape scent. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and birds. After the blooms are spent, the plant produces large, flat, velvety, brown seedpods that mature in the summer. The pods open and disperse black seeds. Many varieties of this plant are available. All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. Use it in containers or as a specimen vine trained over a large arbor or espaliered on a building. It can also be trained to grow over rooftops, arbors and trellises, or as a bonsai plant. This vine is native to China.
The plant prefers full sun or partial shade, but will bloom more prolifically in the sun. It is not particular to soil type, but prefers a rich, moist, well-draining soil. The Chinese wisteria is highly susceptible to Texas root rot and should not be planted in soils where this disease may be present. When using it on a trellis, it requires training and pruning. Do not over-fertilize it, but treat with iron chelate fertilizer as needed. It is very hardy into the low twenties Fahrenheit.