Japanese or Chinese wisterias are stunningly beautiful plants, but they do have limitations. Some gardeners don’t like the fact that they lose their leaves in winter, and they don’t really suit planting schemes featuring Australian natives. The good news is that there is an excellent alternative to exotic wisterias called Millettia megasperma, a native of the rainforests of northern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland.
Common name: Native Wisteria
Botanic name: Millettia megasperma
Description: Vigorous, scrambling evergreen climber. It has compound leaves with 7 to 13 dark green glossy leaflets. Large white to purple pea-shaped flowers are borne in dense racemes from late winter to spring.
Best climate: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the tropics, and worth a try in inland areas, Perth and Adelaide.
excellent Australian native alternative to exotic wisteria
lush, shiny evergreen foliage
spectacular white to purple pea flowers
attractive velvety pods containing large round orange seeds
This is a very vigorous climber – better grown away from buildings.
Native wisteria likes rich, well drained soil, and a position in full or part sun. It also needs a very sturdy structure to climb over, and room to grow. Prune each year after flowering to direct the strong growth and keep it under control.
Some specialist native plant nurseries may stock native wisteria, but it is very difficult to find.
We filmed our segment at Fairhill Native Plants, Yandina, QLD. Phone: (07) 5446 7088. They have plants available in 140mm (6″) pots for $5.75 each.