Water Blog - Invasive Plant to Avoid: Japanese Wisteria

News, notes and thoughts from Blue Water Baltimore.



Invasive Plant to Avoid: Japanese Wisteria

· by

This week is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Herring Run Nursery will be focusing each day on one invasive plant and a native alternative.

Don’t Plant: Japanese Wisteria

The Maryland Invasive Species Council maintains a list of species that present a particular threat to Maryland forests.  You might be surprised to learn that Japanese and Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis, Wisteria floribunda) are on the list.  The flowering vine kills trees and shrubs by climbing and girdling them.  Wisteria also changes the structure of the forest by altering the light availability of the forest floor– damaging the understory by preventing new growth of native species.

Native Alternative: American Wisteria

American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is the perfect native alternative.  It’s not aggressive and damaging like the Asian species, but produces equally lovely flowers.  Another plus side for urban gardeners, American Wisteria can grow in smaller spaces than the Asian species, and does well in containers.  American Wisteria attracts butterflies and is a larval host for the native pollinator moth Zarucco duskywing skipper.  An excellent vine for arbors, pergolas, posts, trellises, fences or terrace walls.

We carry American Wisteria, as well as other native vines such as Honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, and Virgin’s Bower at Herring Run Nursery.  The Nursery will open for the Spring season on March 22nd, with weekend sales beginning on April 1st.