Monty Don's wisteria pruning tips – what you need to do right now

Follow Monty Don’s expert pruning tips to ensure your wisteria will keep flowering beautifully

wisteria trailing from a pergola and trellis
(Image credit: Moelyn Photos/Getty Images)

A wisteria in full bloom is a wonderful sight. The white or mauve blooms cascade from the plant that’s covered the facade of a house, garden wall or pergola. They’re fragrant, too, making this climber a favorite of many of us.

But if you want to keep your plant flowering well, pruning wisteria is a must and expert gardener, broadcaster and author Monty Don has revealed that now is the time to get trimming this vigorous climber. 

Got pruning nerves when it comes to your wisteria? Don’t fret – Monty’s got you covered and all you need to do is read on for his expert advice. And if you don’t have one of these showstopping climbers in your garden already, get in the know with our how to grow wisteria feature.

Monty Don’s top tips on pruning wisteria in June

best climbing plants: wisteria

(Image credit: Teresa Kopec/Getty Images)

Monty revealed the essentials of pruning wisteria in June on his website. We’re sharing his advice below along with some of our own.  

1. Let’s talk timing. Monty says that wisteria should be pruned when it’s finished flowering. That’s around the middle of June for most of us, he says. If your wisteria is still flowering, it’s fine to wait until July, though.

2. Why does wisteria need pruning now? Monty explains that wisteria produces its flowers on new growth and that new growth comes from spurs off the main shoots. The bottom line is that for a fabulous display of flowers you need to prune so new flower buds form.

3. The goal, Monty says, is to prune all of this year’s new shoots. You need to take them back to a spur, he explains, and leave no more than around 6 inches (15cm) of growth.

4. Wisteria needs training, too, because it’s so vigorous, so you can take the opportunity to do this as well as tidy and tie in, Monty says, so the plant doesn’t have any loose and trailing shoots.

spring garden ideas: wisteria in rhs garden

(Image credit: Jason Ingram/RHS)

5. Concerned about taking too much off the plant? Monty’s advice is to err on the side of caution and therefore cut lightly. Remember that wisteria need attention twice a year and when you return to the plant in January/February, when the foliage has died back, you can prune again. At that stage, Monty advises the reduction of each sideshoot to just 2 or 3 inches (5 or 8cm).

6. If you’ve planted a wisteria recently, step away from the best secateurs. You should wait until it has covered the wall, arch or pergola ideas where you’re growing it before commencing the pruning regime.

7. Pruning the Monty way and your wisteria isn’t flowering? Bear in mind that it does need a sunny position, and water if it’s dry from July to September. Frost in spring can also cause problems. 

But, if you’ve ticked the boxes and there aren’t any flowers over three years, it might be your wisteria was seed-raised rather than grafted. Swap to one that’s in flower when you buy or check it’s a grafted plant. Or check out our guide to the best climbing plants to see what other stunning options you can grow in your garden too.

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Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She's spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens – long enough to see interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement, both indoors and out, and it's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, so she's a serial house revamper.