Wisteria Leaf Curl: Reasons Why Wisteria Leaves Are Curling

By: Kristi Waterworth

The long purple flowers of wisteria are the stuff garden dreams are made of and growers will wait patiently for years just to see them for the first time. Those purple flowers can transform any space into something magical, but what do you do if there are curling leaves on wisteria in your garden? This common problem may seem overwhelming, but it’s a pretty simple situation. Curled wisteria leaves are commonly caused by sap-sucking pests or a lack of fertilizer in the soil — both are easy to remedy.

Wisteria Leaves are Curling

When wisteria leaf curl becomes apparent in your garden, check the leaves carefully to determine what is causing the problem. Although you might get lucky applying garden chemicals willy-nilly, it’s never a good idea and more often than not will prolong the problem, possibly killing your plant in the process.

Pest Problems

Aphids – If you see small, seed-like insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves, along with a sticky, sap-like material on the leaves themselves, you’re probably dealing with aphids. These tiny sap-feeding insects cause leaves to curl when they feed on developing buds, so you may have sporadic wisteria leaf curl throughout areas where aphids are active.

Aphids are easily dispatched with daily sprays from a garden hose to dislodge them from their feeding sites. Once detached, the insects die quickly, but many more may hatch to take their place, so be vigilant and spray daily for at least two weeks, making sure to hit the undersides of leaves especially well.

Scale – When twisting of wisteria leaves is accompanied by small waxy or cottony growths near affected leaves, scale insects are probably to blame. These tiny pests are immobile as adults – covered in their protective shells, they often feed undetected. Many gardeners initially misdiagnose these pests as a plant disease or fungal infection, but if you carefully lift a few of the covers with a sharp knife, you’ll find a tiny, soft-bodied insect inside.

Treat scale with neem oil after giving your wisteria a thorough watering. Apply the spray to areas where scale are feeding on a weekly schedule until you no longer see signs of an active colony and leaves begin to return to normal. Damaged leaves can’t be fixed, but new leaves should emerge looking perfect. Neem oil can cause phytotoxic reactions on under watered or otherwise stressed plants, so make sure your wisteria has proper care before starting to spray.

Environmental Contributions

If checking leaves thoroughly doesn’t reveal a reason for curling leaves on wisteria, look to the soil. Perform a soil test to see what’s going on in the root zone, sometimes a lack of fertilizer can cause wisteria leaves to curl.

Wisteria vines do well with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10. Too much nitrogen can cause excessive leaf growth at the expense of flowers, so make sure that you really need it before adding extra nitrogen to your wisteria’s root zone.

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Houseplants are generally stress-free and low maintenance. With the proper lighting, adequate watering and ample fertilization, it should thrive without any issues.

But what do you do when your plant does get sick?

When the leaves of your indoor plant start to discolor or curl it’s time to give your plant some attention.

When your plant’s leaves start to curl, you can be sure that there is something wrong. For indoor plants, it could be anything from pests, insufficient lighting, heat stress, nutrient deficiencies or even watering. It’s about balancing all these factors to ensure the best for your plant’s growth.

Wisteria: characteristics

These are the main characteristics of the wisteria or wisteria plant :

  • It can climb heights of up to 20 meters.
  • It has groups of flowers or inflorescences of up to 1 meter.
  • Live up to 100 years.
  • It has a deciduous leaf.
  • It has its origin in China and Japan.
  • Its pods and seeds are toxic if ingested.

After knowing some of its characteristics, let’s go on to see how to care for a wisteria plant, stopping to talk about each type of care.

Pruning and caring for Wisteria

Pruning Wisteria is very easy, and must be done every year if you don’t want your Wisteria to invade more than its allotted territory.

This can take place anytime during the plant’s dormant state, when leaves have fallen off until the end of winter.

Do not prune during frost spells.

  • Flowers grow on the previous year’s growth, so it is important to only remove new growth to enable flowering.
  • In winter, prune lateral shoots, removing all but one or two buds.
    This means to keep the main branch, and cut back all stems that shoot out from it.
  • Remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading) because their fruits are toxic.

Here is our video guidance to correctly prune Wisteria

Wisteria Leaves Curling




Jocelyn Adelman

SeattleRoy is great with micro deficiencies


lol Jocelyn Adelman would you like to take a stab at this one you have seen what I have posted and this one has come up before.

HI wem21, you described the problem as 'curling leaves'. you have good powers of observation. When dealing with potential nutrient deficiency problems in our plants careful observation is one of our best tools. Pictures are worth a 1000 words, sometime many more than that. The picture that wem21 posted gives us strong clues as to what the likely deficiency is. the suspected problem is: ________________ ( https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi. se-dont-want-to-lose-my-amazon-plants.309930/ Post #15 for a couple of common deficiencies)

Jocelyn Adelman

Lol, I could but always get screwed up bet the ca and mg. thinking this one is primarily mg, either way ratio of both is out of whack.

Dosing seachem equilibrium will help fix this, on new growth only though (damage has already been done to old growth).

SeattleRoy if I'm not 100% on an answer I prefer to "give the referral" vs give wrong advice. (Too many on hear lead people in the wrong direction at times, not for lack of desire to help, but for lack of proper knowledge.) Overall on fert usage I'm all good, balancing a tank totally fine, identifying micro deficiencies I'm eh. better on macro

Q. get my wisteria to bloom

How do I get my wisteria to bloom? I have had wisteria 3 years, but no blooms.

I would guess that the nitrogen to phosphorus ratio is off. The soil may have an abundance of nitrogen, which would result in nice, healthy green growth but little to no blooms. Without the right amount of phosphorus, it will not bloom well. Bone meal is a great way to add phosphorus. This article will also help: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/vines/wisteria/wisteria-blooming-problems.htm

Is this wysteria? Or just a weed?


curious before i cut it down, it seems to cling onto everything it grows near..


The bark on our Wisteria is a much lighter color. It will be easier to ID if you can wait until it leaves out.


If you are talking about the yellow flowers I think it is forsythia.

ETA. mine just stared blooming too.


Looks like a wild grape vine.


Is there a trunk of some sort? It looks like our wisteria. Which does shoot out and twine around branches of other nearby trees. If in doubt, wait till it fills in.

If the yellow flowers are on the plant you are asking about, you can trim it back to a desirable size. Keep it trimmed back and it will become more bush-like versus leggy and vine-like.

If you are talking about the yellow flowers I think it is forsythia.

ETA. mine just stared blooming too.

If the forsythia is mixed in with whatever the vine is, once you let the 'whatever's' leaves come out and figure out what it is, then you can decide what to do with it. If it is wisteria, for example, you can guide the branches towards the right and cover the fence. Do the branches have curly tendrils? That might be a characteristic of either wisteria or a grape vine.


Wisteria has purple flowers, forsythia has yellow flowers. Wisteria is a vine and forsythia a bush. That looks like a forsythia plant that never got any prunning or care. I agree that you need to cut it to shrub size and fertilize it they are nice bushes in spring. The root system is probably healthy, and it will grow fast into a nice bush.


Wisteria will grow back even if you cut it down near the ground. But that vine does not look like wisteria.


Included in these references is how to eradicate it.

Millburn DPW has been working for years to control it, at the edge of Old SH Park, with only limited success.


the yellow one is indeed a forsythia, i was referring to the creeping vine to the right of it. I will let it grow leaves to see what it turns into, if it is a wysteria i would love to keep it and encourage it to fill in that ugly chain link fence. It looks like my neighbor has cut it near the top multiple times..


Wisteria twines. If it doesn't twist around everything, it's not wisteria. That is too straight.

But that doesn't answer the question of whether or not it's a weed. I guess a weed is something you don't want in your garden. That seems to have some old wood, and has been pruned at the top (by your neighbor?) Maybe someone wanted it in the garden.

I'd give it a season to see what it does before calling it and treating it like a "weed." There are many nice climbing vines that are not wisteria. I'd hesitate to cut one back that is that established without being sure.

What it's also not: any type of clematis, climbing hydrangea, ivy - English or otherwise, or climbing rose. It kind of reminds me of the native vines around the Delaware river in the Catskills, which means: it may be a "weed," but it may also be "hearty." Which means you'll never kill it and should try to make peace with it by pruning it once you understand it.

Perhaps that's what the previous owners and your neighbor have done. I don't imagine its "invasive" since there is just the one and the fence isn't overwhelmed with volunteers and shooters.

Please post pictures of its leaves and flowers this season. I'd love to be educated.


you know, it looks a little like our old (very old) grapevine that was grown for its leaves. It didn't bear fruit, and yes it did trail and twine into nearly everything else but the previous owners (who'd planted it) had tried to confine it to a single pole.

It looks like your plant may have had a weeping habit from a ring atop that pole, and the ring has been removed.

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