The Wisteria is a strong, fast growing deciduous vine with alternating compound leaves. In spring it produces long drooping clusters of bluish-purple fragrant flowers.

Most wisteria bonsai are of medium or large size because the long flower clusters need some height to hang from. Wisterias are very well suited for bonsai but their special feature is the flowers. After flowering the trunk and branches are hidden under long leaves and proliferating tendrils and then the wisteria returns to the second row in the bonsai garden.

Excerpt from Bonsai Empire

There are many Wisteria species – from many different countries.

Chinese (sinensis)
Japanese (floribunda)
Silky or Venusta (brachybotryst)
North American (frutescens)
American (macrostachya) or Kentucky wisteria

Japanese and Silky can stand lower temperatures than Chinese.


There are four main varieties:

  • A common mauve

  • Amethyst – a darker purple

  • Alba – white

  • Jako – a stronger scented white

All Chinese wisteria twine anticlockwise.


There are dozens. Floribunda Longissima (macrobotryst) is probably the most well-known. It has very long racemes. Other floribundas available are:

  • Violacea Plena – a double mauve

  • Kuchibeni – a very pale lilac pink

  • Honbeni – a stronger pink

  • Royal Purple – deep mauve, long racemes

  • Lawrence – sky blue

  • Shiro Noda – a long white


These are less familiar but are stunning nonetheless. Most are highly scented and have rich golden leaves in autumn.

  • Shiro Kapitan – sometimes called ‘White Silk’, highly perfumed, white

  • Showa Beni – a stunning pink

  • Murasaki Kapitan – a mauve

  • Okayama – a deeper mauve

North American

These have a shorter raceme, and are not as fragrant.

  • Amethyst Falls – deep mauve and blooms on current seasons growth

American (Kentucky)

These are very similar to frutescens.

  • Aunt Dee – light purple and a light fragrance

  • Blue Moon – blue/purple

  • Clara Mac – white

Some of the most richly scented are:

  • Murasaki Kapitan

  • Shiro Kapitan

  • Kuchi Beni

  • Lawrence

  • Royal Purple

  • Jako

Nicole DentonWisteria