Moving An Established Wisteria

If you are re-developing your garden or having some building work carried out then you might not have any choice but to move an established wisteria. It’s one of the hardest established plants to move mainly because it has roots that grow very deep and produces very little fibrous or feeding roots which uptake water from the soil critical in the re-establishment of the wisteria once moved.

To try and move a wisteria, prune it hardback with a saw, cut the main stems back to about a metre and then dig out the plant with as much root as possible if you are having some building work carried out and have a digger available then enlist the help of the digger.

Once you have removed the plant you need to put it into a large tub with a John Innes soil-based compost with lots of added well-rotted leaf mould from a broad-leafed woodland. Water well once potted and keep watering to keep the moisture in the compost. It can take up until 12 months for the new first buds to show and recover. During this time keep scratching the stem lightly and if just under the surface the stem is still green then your wisteria is still alive and in with a fighting chance.

Once it starts to re-shoot and establish in the tub it can be re-planted.

If it’s a plant with good flowers or a plant from a friend or relative it’s worth getting a new plant produced from a graft as grafting wisteria is quite an easy operation.

Notes on moving a wisteria 

To move a wisteria in a garden, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose the right time: The best time to move a wisteria is in the winter when the plant is dormant.
  2. Prune the plant: Prune back the wisteria to make it easier to move and to encourage healthy new growth.
  3. Dig up the root ball: Dig around the wisteria to loosen the soil, and then carefully dig up the root ball, trying to keep as much soil as possible around the roots.
  4. Transplant: Move the wisteria to its new location and plant it at the same depth as it was previously growing. Fill in the soil around the roots and water well.
  5. Provide support: Wisteria needs a strong support structure, so make sure to provide a sturdy trellis or arbor in the new location.
  6. Prune again: After transplanting, prune back the wisteria again to encourage healthy new growth and to maintain its shape.

Note: Wisteria can be heavy and difficult to move, so it may be helpful to enlist the help of another person