A Stinky Situation

Do you sometimes have a problem making up your mind about where a plant will go? I do.  Recently, I thought I’d made up my mind when I learned some bad news.

Note – I get carried away with my plant purchases.  Honestly folks, eating beans and rice and wearing holey clothes just to buy plants seems to me my modus operandi.  Pathetic, right? (Oh, but wait, holey clothes are trendy.   Whew!)

Anyway, I kinda’ like vines, so I’ve been buying a few of them.

Unlike my usual behavior where I put  plants in the ground immediately, all of the vines are still in pots waiting for their BIG DAY to be officially planted.  I did, however, transplant them into bigger pots with lots of tender loving care and compost so they could wait patiently while I make up my mind.

And why wait? Well, that’s because my vine plan didn’t go in the direction I thought it would.  Like a GPS, I’m recalculating….

Here’s what I’ve got:


Confederate Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides  purchased on sale at half price last fall to install either on the fence or on the new arbor I’m waiting to have built. This jasmine already bloomed once, and the fragrance was heavenly.



Hydrangea Vine ‘Pink Sensation’ Schizophragma hydrangeoides   purchased on sale, again to grow on the fence or over the NEW arbor.  Honestly, I couldn’t resist this beauty after seeing photos of it in bloom.

So what if it gets 50′ long and covers the entire house?   It takes shade when most vines won’t.  Shade-shade-shade! So there.

And then finally there’s…



Wisteria, ‘Amethyst Falls’ Wisteria frutescens   This is an American wisteria and from what I’ve seen and read, it’s far less aggressive/invasive than the Asian version.  Unfortunately, this vine has a character defect (don’t we all?) that vendors fail to mention.  I might have purchased Blue Moon wisteria  had I known of Amethyst Fall’s little “issue.”

So I was roaming around the ‘Net and decided I truly needed to know the ultimate size of Amethyst Falls to determine whether she should go on the fence or on the old or new arbor.  And that’s when I learned about her problem. It’s not size.  It’s not aggressiveness.  Oh, no.

Originally, I was like Teresa (below) whose comment on Amethyst Falls wisteria I lifted from the Internet here:

Teresa S.
Verified Buyer
Transform an Eyesore
A portion of an old metal chain link fence will come to life and be filled with beautiful blooms and a lovely aroma in spring.

Like me, Teresa wasn’t let in on “THE SECRET” of this particular wisteria.  I bet she knows now.

This comment from here also hints at the truth:

amazondoc(mid-TN, z 7)
I also have ‘Amethyst Falls’. Mine blooms twice a year so far (this is its third summer). In fact, it’s in bloom right now. 🙂
It does have a very odd scent…

And then there were the comments below from Davesgarden.com that dropped THE BOMB. (Several comments omitted for brevity):

Gardeners’ Notes: 

On Apr 18, 2016, Midd from Carmel, IN wrote:
The blossoms on this plant reek of male cat pee. While I have read online, they are up to 10 inches in length, they are not. They are much shorter. Will attempt ground level runners of MANY feet.
Looks nice from a distance, but when in bloom, I don’t even like mowing next to it. You’ll need to air the house if you attempt to bring a bloom inside!
If you are looking for a wisteria because you’ve read they smell wonderful, THIS is not your variety!
On May 12, 2015, CapeCodCookie from Buzzards Bay, MA wrote:
Hi. Can someone tell me, is the bad smell from the flower only, or from the foliage too?
I just bought 10 plants for the columns on our porch that wraps around the house, but haven’t planted them yet.
After reading all the post here I’m worried that the whole yard will smell. If it’s only when it flowers then can probably live with it.
Appreciate any advice – Thanks.
(Poor thing!)    
On May 4, 2015, Jennib69 from Elkmont, AL wrote:
I bought this plant as a one gallon from a local nursery 5 years ago. It is a beautiful, fast growing, shade producing vine. I have it planted beside an 8ft trellis and it has climbed over it and started reaching toward my swing on the other side. It blooms at least twice a year since the 3rd year planted.
Now for the negative rating. THE SMELL!!! This spring and very lightly last spring it smelled like Male cat urine!!!! It is so bad this year I cannot sit outside or open my windows.
I wish anybody had any idea why!!! We had scads of rain this year??? I know I have other plants that smell of cat urine after a good soaking rain…. But nothing like this, I actually have been developing migraines it is so bad.
If this smell does not go away soon I am afraid this beauty…
On May 20, 2013, betsybrock from Cedarville, OH wrote:
Well, mine stinks! I’m curious if anyone has an idea about what could be added to the soil to improve the smell. More alkaline or acidity? Anything? I truly smells like cat urine and I can’t even open the windows or the whole house smells like that. It’s beautiful so I’d love to keep it but the smell needs to go! Thanks for any advise!
On Dec 29, 2009, echinaceamaniac from (Clint) Medina, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:
I have to agree with the comment about the flowers stinking. I was in Lowes and I smelled something really bad. I walked over and found it was this plant that was stinking up the place.

So this wisteria won’t go on my new arbor.  That leaves the fence and the old arbor…Where do I want my yard to smell like cat urine?  Hmmmm.

But you know, I actually have a cat urine garden sign (yes, really) already on my fence.  What luck, right? (Said in jest.) Long story behind that sign.

I think God has a sense of humor or maybe it’s karma because I have never smelled more cat urine than after I had that particular sign made.  No, I don’t own a cat. I cleaned cat cages as a volunteer at the humane society.







4 thoughts on “A Stinky Situation

  1. Great post. That wisteria sounds a bit like the female ginkgo tree. The rotting berries smell like something died, maybe to attract scavengers. You could just cut off the flower buds. A bit of work and it would not look as good but the stink would be gone. If you still want the flowers, the Cat Urine sign is a fun idea. Does the smell attracts cats?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually, while the smell doesn’t attract cats as far as I know, my friend Nicola told me the smell would deter any raccoons that might want to visit my yard, so I guess that’s a benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

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