How to prune wisteria for beautiful Bridgerton-style blooms

The gardening experts reveal their top tips and methods for pruning your wisteria

Close up of a wisteria bush with a watercolour decorative leaf border to support a guide on how to prune wisteria
(Image credit: Getty Images | Natalia Ganelin)

If the sight of those resplendent purple flowers in Netflix's Bridgerton has given you a serious case of 'wisteria hysteria', you're not alone. The climbing plant has seen a spike in Google searches ever since the premiere of season three. Still, while there's no denying it's a stunning addition to any home, you need to know how to prune wisteria (properly) if you want yours at its best.

One of the most alluring plants around, countless estate agents have gone on record to say that a well-tended wisteria can add up to £10,000 to a property's value – making it a smart investment for any homeowner, too.

As ever, though, this is one of those plants that needs more than a little TLC thrown its way if you want it to work its magic in your outdoor space. This means that, just as you must learn how to prune roses and how to prune clematis, the same is true of wisteria. 

Trust us: the sweet and musky perfume of these fragrant garden plants will be more than reward enough for your hard work...

How to prune wisteria: an expert guide

It doesn't matter if you plan on training your wisteria along a wall, fence, or pergola: yours will need regular pruning to keep its vigorous growth under control – not to mention boost its flowering potential. if left unkept this powerful plant can soon become one of the most invasive garden plants.

"The best times to prune wisteria in the UK are in July/August and January/February," says RHS-trained gardener Andrew O'Donoghue, co-founder of Gardens Revived

garden wisteria

(Image credit: Getty Images | Anna Blazhuk)
Andrew O'Donoghue in a garden
Andrew O'Donoghue

RHS-trained gardener Andrew O'Donoghue set up Gardens Revived with his brother, Christopher, in 2018 to create a thriving family business. Together, they have worked on residential gardens, listed buildings and gardens, flower shows and large estates with some exceeding 70 acres – many with historical significance.

What you will need

Thankfully, this isn't one of those garden jobs that requires lots of tools; all you really need is a pair of sharp secateurs, a ladder (to help you get to those tricky-to-reach bits), and a pair of gardening gloves.

Step-by-step guide

If you want to know how to prune wisteria, it's actually a pretty simple task – so long as you take note of the time of year you're pruning. Your pruning techniques will differ, depending on the timing you set to work, so be sure to check out our expert guide on how to prune wisteria if you want to do your plant justice.

1. In summer

If you're keen to get to work pruning your wisteria in the summer, Andrew says you should focus your attention on the whippy green shoots you can see on the current year’s growth.

"You're aiming to cut these back to about 5-6 leaves from the main stem," he says, noting that this will help you to control growth and stop the plant putting all of its efforts into growing more shoots.

"You'll get far more flowers this way," he says, "and far less damage to your windows and gutters, too!"

person pruning wisteria

(Image credit: Getty Images | Marc Chesneau)

2. In winter

If you truly want to make all of your How To Prune Wisteria 101 dreams a reality, you'll also need to prune yours in the winter, too.

"The trick is to wait until the plant is dormant," says Andrew, explaining it will be leafless at this point in its cycle. "Then, find those same shoots you cut back in the summer and prune them further to 2-3 buds from the main stem."

This, he promises, will do more than simply tidy up the plant; it'll also create more light and space, thus promoting "healthy blooms in the springtime".


When should wisteria be pruned?

If you want to prune wisteria like a true gardening pro, you'll want to mark two dates on your calendar: one in the summer after flowering (July/August) and one in the winter when the plant is dormant (January/February). Pruning twice a year at these times should keep your climber looking its very best.

How to prune wisteria for maximum bloom?

You will need to prune your wisteria twice a year to maximise blooming; in the summer, the aim is to cut green, whippy shoots back to just five or six leaves. Then, come winter, you'll want to cut these same shoots back to just two buds (this is also the best time to cut back any unwanted or dead/damaged branches, too).

"Regular pruning maintains the plant's shape and ensures a beautiful display of flowers each year," says Andrew O'Donoghue of Gardens Revived.

"Just be sure to use clean, sharp tools to keep yours as healthy as possible."

Now that you know how to prune wisteria, you can set to work ensuring your house is the talk of the Ton – although, for the full Bridgerton effect, you'll want to trail some ivy up and around your home's visage, too.

Hey, if it's good enough for the viscountess, right?

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is an experienced writer and editor within the world of digital journalism. She kicked off her career in magazines with Cosmopolitan as a news writer. Kayleigh then went on to become part of the digital editorial team at Closer, before a successful seven-year stint at Stylist, where she took command as the site’s editor and editor-at-large.

Nowadays, Kayleigh can be found freelancing for a myriad of titles including Woman & Home, along with a role at Ideal Home where she waxes lyrical about her true love: gardening. She is currently giving her own backyard a woodland-inspired makeover – and there have been whispers of a vegetable plot, too.