A Summer Vine

“A Summer Vine”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Evergreen Wisteria (Millettia reticulata) is becoming very popular in this area.  This is not the Chinese wisteria (wisteria sinensis) or Japanese wisteria (wisteria floribunda) that are more commonly grown.  While the latter two can grow to thirty feet plus, this one grows only twelve to fifteen feet.  The evergreen wisteria will still need a sturdy structure to grow on like all wisteria, but does is not grow as big as the others.  It grows well here which is zone 8, but I am not sure if it is hardy past this zone.  One of the nice things about this vine is that it blooms in late summer or early fall.



The clusters of deep purple flowers are very striking.  While the spring-blooming wisteria has light purple flowers which seems to go with the lighter spring palette, this deep amethyst color stands up to other summer flowers’ bright, intense colors.



The shiny, green foliage and deep, rich color of the pea-like flowers give this plant its common name of evergreen wisteria, but it is not a true wisteria.  It is just a close relative. 



We use so many annual vines in our summer gardens, it is nice to have a perennial one to rely on for colorful blooms year after year.



  1. July 21, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    It is nice that it is an evergreen vine. The flowers are pretty.

  2. Jan said,

    July 21, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Yes, it may lose its leaves if it get very cold, but for most of the year it is green.

  3. Phillip said,

    July 22, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I’m not familiar with this one but I love that color. I recently replaced the more aggressive one with ‘Amethyst Falls’ which is not as invasive.

  4. Alexandra said,

    July 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

    These vines are stunning…I love the deep, rich color of the flowers. The only “vines” I have in my yard, from the previous owner, is creeping charlie…I cannot seem to find a way to get rid of it or control it. Ugh.

  5. Brenda Kula said,

    July 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    And to have one when the heat kills all the others or they’re drooping! I always ache for things just about this time of year. Things are already dying and I’m having to cut them back in this horrid heat! I need some plants that will thrive through the heat and on into the fall season.

  6. Jan said,

    July 22, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Phillip, I have only read about Amethyst Falls, but the pictures I have seen show lovely flowers. Is it really the slow grower they say it is, and does it rebloom? This evergreen wisteria does have a great color, doesn’t it?

    Alexandra, I have a problem with Virginia Creeper. I am constantly pulling it up. Unfortunately, the neighbors are not as diligent, and I will probably be fighting it for years. But, you are right, the color of this vine is wonderful, esp. in the fall when all the other deep colors are showing up.

    Brenda, I feel exactly like you do. I have started planting things that bloom in the very late summer/early fall to have some color in the garden. Because of our long growing season, I sometimes stick in a few new annuals here and there about now since the ones planted in April are looking a little tired. Most annuals can’t take the 7 to 9 month growing season we have.

  7. Phillip said,

    July 22, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Jan, it is a slow grower! I’ve had it for 3 years now and it has never made it all the way across a twelve foot trellis.

  8. Jan said,

    July 23, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Phillip, I need to replace my Chinese wisteria with that one. I am constantly cutting mine back but hated to get rid of it because of the flowers. Amethyst Falls might be a solution.

  9. Anna said,

    July 23, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Will it take as long to start blooming? Does it bloom all summer? My chinese wisteria took 7 years to bloom. I don’t want to wait that long. This evergreen wisteria is beautiful. I’m in zone 7 but a very protected area that I would almost call a zone 8.

  10. Jan said,

    July 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Anna, it usually blooms the first year, if planted in the early spring. It starts blooming late summer through fall. Of course, as it gets older you get more blooms. I have seen on one web site that it is hardy to zone 7, so, in a protected area, it should do okay.

  11. July 25, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I’ve seen this growing in a few gardens in Austin, Jan – with a spectacular specimen draped over a pergola outside of the local Smith & Hawken store – it’s very pretty and it has some fragrance, too. Maybe some day ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  12. kim said,

    July 28, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Jan – just browsing and came to your blog – I am new to Blotanical and have been looking for advise on the chinese wisteria that was given to me. I placed it at the base of the tree(maybe not too smart), and was told it is hardy and should have no problem there. I was also told it grows vigorously – which I want -so it will hang over a large pond. I cut it back the second year in spring(currently third year), and it’s barely doing anything. any helpful advise? thanks! – enjoyed your blog!

  13. Jan said,

    July 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Hi, Kim, thanks for stopping by my blog. I’ll try and give you some ideas though you didn’t say what zone you are in. First, I would not have a Chinese wisteria growing up a tree. It will eventually kill the tree. These are very vigorous vines and will gradually girdle the tree, as well as shade the leaves of the tree so that it declines. You do not say how far back you cut it in the spring. If you only trimmed it back, it should be sending out new growth like crazy. I have trimmed mine back twice since the spring, and it is still growing. Maybe you might have to fertilize it and make sure it is well watered. I hope this helps. If you have any more questions about this, just ask.

  14. Katy said,

    October 6, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Jan!

    I am so happy I stumbled upon your blog tonight. I am in Baton Rouge and just took several pods off of a friends evergreen wisteria. It’s been a week and the pods have dried out and popped open and now I have seeds. Have you ever planted these from seeds? I’ve been searching online all night with no luck on finding any instruction. The only thing I found said I needed to let the pods dry up on the plant. Any insight into planting from seeds would be much appreciated. I intend to keep reading the blog now that I’ve found it. It’s nice to read about someone growing in the exact same climate.

  15. Jan said,

    October 7, 2008 at 4:31 am

    Hi, Katy. I’m glad to hear from another LA gardener. I haven’t tried growing any of the evergreen wisteria from seed, but, if I were you, I think I would first try soaking the seeds overnight in warm water since they are pretty hard seeds. Then I would plant them in four inch pots and keep them inside if I was planting them now or outside if doing this in the spring. I would plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep. I hope this helps. Good luck with them.

  16. shirleytrevino said,

    March 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I have heard that when buying wisteria only buy one that is already in bloom, that way you can be sure it will bloom. That is what i did and mine has bloomed like crazy every year, I have also trained mine in tree form, which i am very proud of. I do not give it alot of special treatment , it seems to be drough tollerant and blooms beautifully every spring and sporadically most of the summer.

    • Jan said,

      March 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm

      Shirley, I particularly like wisterias trained in tree form, so much better than allowing them to overwhelm an actual tree.

  17. helen said,

    June 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    My wisteria is very large and is supported by a trellis over a fish pond, its losing its leaves constantly, however the vine looks healthy.

    • Jan said,

      June 9, 2009 at 9:58 am

      Helen, that is puzzling that your vine is losing leaves now. It must make cleaning the fish pond a chore that must be done more frequently. If the vine is healthy, I wouldn’t worry too much.

  18. Fran Webb said,

    March 27, 2011 at 6:52 am

    My Evergreen Wisteria bloomed the first year, 2nd year did not bloom, and thought the reason was I had over fertilized it. Now I have brown spots on the leaves. I’ve read that it is a fungus of some sort, how and what do I treat it with?

    • Jan said,

      April 3, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      Hi, Fran. It is hard to tell you what to do with your wisteria without seeing it. You might want to ask a nursery in your area or contact your local extension service about this. If it is a fungus, I would see if the vine is really harmed (damaged leaves vs dead leaves) because I do not use fungicides. I think there are just too many problems with them.

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