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Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden

Written By Lesley Canter on Thursday, May 6, 2010 | 12:55 AM

There's a part of me that would kill for this balcony ...

Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden

I love wisteria. And my dream is an old house in the country with wisteria growing up the walls. But despite that, I don't think that I shall be introducing it here.

Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden
First of all because it's not really a balcony plant. Even here it's not really growing on the balcony - it's been planted in the garden and then trained up.


Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden


It must have been planted when the house was built, given the size of it and the width of the trunk.


Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden
It's been trained up carefully, and the branches have then been supported under and along the balconies themselves.


Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden
Wisteria can be planted in containers - but the container plus the vine might soon get too heavy for the balcony. If you're balcony gardening and intend to use large containers, it's worth finding out how much weight your balcony can support - according to my architect husband, on the type of balcony we have here it's usually around 250-300 kilograms per square foot. Remember though that you need to allow for the weight of the people who might be standing on the balcony too. It's not just the containers.

Then there's the problem of time. Wisteria takes up to 20 years to flower if grown from seed and, some sites suggest, 4-5 or more if grown from cuttings. Even if you've got the patience to wait, space limitations on a balcony mean you might not want to have a non-flowering plant hanging around that long.


Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden

And even when it does start, you'll have a superb display for a couple of weeks in the spring and then all the balcony space taken up for the rest of the year. I'm not sure it's worth it.

Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden
It seems to me there are two possibilities - firstly to train it as a standard. The RHS site explains how. It will still reach small tree size, but as long as your balcony can take that much weight, it should solve the space problem.

Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden
Or it can be grown as a bonsai. Now I've never been really into bonsais. It's always seemed too much like foot-binding to me. but in this case I have to say I'd be sorely tempted ...

Meanwhile I'm just going to take a short walk up the road at the end of April each year, and stand and gaze at this one. I think it deserves a prize for brightening up the city.


Wisteria would kill for this balcony,Home Garden
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