My Wisteria Looks Dead – Why & What To Do

Alongside its unique aesthetic and scent, the wisteria plant tends to stand the test of time whilst all the while remaining relatively low maintenance. 

Nevertheless, in spite of the plant’s many good traits, it is by no means invincible. In fact, there are several reasons why your wisteria may suddenly appear to be in ill health or even dead. 

So why does my wisteria look dead? Your wisteria may look dead in response to inappropriate weather conditions (likely cold, even frosty), diseases such as root rot or leaf sport, or even severe pest invasions. 

Fortunately, if this happens to be the case, revival is usually a possibility. 

I’ve explored and outlined everything that you need to know below. Read on to learn more! 

Why Is My Wisteria Dying?

Root Rot

If you spot discolored leaves on your wisteria, you may have an overwatering problem on your hands.

When a wisteria receives too much water, be it through excess rainfall or your own overwatering of it, the soil beneath it can easily become waterlogged.

The prolonged water exposure will eventually cause the plant’s roots to begin to rot, and depending on the extent of the rotting; the repercussions may be fatal.

Similarly, honey fungus is a disease that spreads through the soil and attacks the roots of any woody plants it encounters.

Wisteria is no exception.

A severe honey fungus infection can cause the plant to collapse entirely.

Whilst the action occurs beneath the surface; a common tell that your wisteria is infected is the emergence of several toadstools in the soil beneath it. 

Leaf Spot

Additionally, your wisteria may look a little worse for wear if it has contracted a fungal leaf disease.

Be it leaf spots or powdery mildew; such diseases are usually brought about by wet and humid conditions.

The presence of leaf spot disease is made evident by the small yellow spots all over the leaves of the wisteria, whereas the powdery mildew results in curled leaves with a white coating, two distinctive aesthetics that are undoubtedly out of the norm for a healthy wisteria. 

Whilst leaf diseases aren’t often fatal; they do threaten to dry out the plant’s leaves and turn them brown.

Plus, their fungal nature means that they spread rapidly, so if you spot them, you’ll want to move quickly! 

Pest Invasions

Amongst many other plants, aphids and scales prey on wisterias.

Both of these creatures operate by relentlessly sucking the sap out of the wisteria, thereby depleting it of the nutritious juices without which it can’t survive.

If said pests are present in abundance, they pose a significant threat, and it won’t be long before their effects show up in the plant’s leaves, which will appear discolored and distorted. 

You should also be cautious of borer beetles.

They work by tunneling holes across the plant, essentially causing open wounds which are easily prone to rotting and all sorts of infections. 

Weather Conditions

If you’re growing a wisteria, it’s only wise to be mindful of the weather. Extreme weather conditions pose quite the threat.

In particular, cold conditions are renowned for their ability to distort the plant’s flowers and can even prevent their growth altogether.

Even so, it’s likely that your wisteria will naturally come back to life once the frost begins to diminish. 

Crown Galls

Finally, wisterias are no stranger to crown galls.

The disease is a soil-borne one and is exhibited by the prominent and unsightly swellings that emerge across the plant.

The swellings are essentially tumor cells, and their existence becomes particularly problematic when they prevent the plant’s internal movement of nutrients.

As a result, the wisteria will struggle to send energy to its leaves and flowers, subsequently suffering from a case of stunted growth. 

How Do You Revive Wisteria?

Whilst it may look like your wisteria is dying, you may just be able to salvage it and keep it on a healthy trajectory moving forward.

Here’s how:


Many of the diseases that wisteria encounters are fungal-based.

Hence, the likes of root rot and leaf spot can be effectively combated through the consistent application of a decent fungicide.

With a quick browse online or a visit to your local garden store, you’ll find a suitable and ideally organic, eco-friendly product in no time.

This is the one to get from Amazon.

Then, simply follow the instructions on the bottle until the fungus disappears. Easy!


Alternatively, if you have a pest problem on your hands, you’ll want to counter it as quickly as you can.

Reason being aphids, scales, and borers reproduce rapidly, and it doesn’t take long for their presence to spiral into a significant infestation. 

Here, the hosepipe is your friend. It’s very much possible to knock the pests off your wisteria through the use of a strong enough water stream. 

Additionally, you might want to look into the pesticide approach, of which there are several products available.

For instance, you could whip up a vinegar-based DIY solution at home or purchase a ready-made one.

This one from Amazon is particularly effective.

For an inherently eco-friendly solution, you could try rubbing neem oil on the wisteria to effectively suffocate the pests.

Scent deterrents are another viable option.

Most pests detest the smells of peppermint, rosemary, and cayenne pepper, so the strategic placement of these scents is likely to keep them well and truly at bay. 

Gall Removal

If you spot galls on your wisteria, you could attempt their removal by carefully cutting them out.

Whether or not this method will work is somewhat of a gamble. If your attempt is successful, the plant will begin to heal.

If your attempt is unsuccessful, you may have no choice but to destroy the plant. 

Other Suggestions To Keep Your Wisteria Healthy


As is the case for most plants, wisterias benefit considerably from fertilizer.

Prime time for its application is during the Spring, which consequently equips the plant with a very welcome healthy boost during its flowering season. 

Watering Best Practices

Moist conditions are the leading cause of many fungal diseases.

By watering your wisteria every few days, but only when the soil is dry, you’ll be in a great position to prevent the rise and subsequent spread of fungal diseases.

Of course, this is only true if the soil is well-draining. 

Plus, it’s just as fundamental not to underwater your wisteria.

Whilst a lack of water may not cause root rot; it certainly threatens to dry the plant out.

Stay on top of watering best practices, and your wisteria will be just fine! 

Periodic Pruning

The general recommendation is to prune your wisteria twice a year – once during the crux of winter and again during the Summer.

In doing so, you’ll encourage its healthy growth by reducing its unruliness and creating extra space for much-needed air circulation.