Deciduous shrub or tree, very common in the countryside.
A number of the smaller and more graceful species are quite suitable for use in the garden, and are discussed below.
Most species enjoy quite damp soil, loamy if possible.
Very easy, from winter.
Salix acutifolia: Height to 5 m; picturesque habit with thin, arching twigs covered in blue bloom. Theare long and narrow, the catkins yellow. A particularly fine weeping form with drooping foliage is TendulifohV. Salix alba, bat willow, white willow: Height to 25 m. This is the well known knotted willow, far too large for the average garden, as is its weeping form ‘Tristis’. The weeping willow ‘Chermesina’ – a shrub with red twigs, growing to 6 m – is more suitable. Salix aurita: Height 2-3 m; a shrub with matt/glossy brown-black twigs. The are slightly rolled; in ‘Crispa’ they are rolled spirally. Large, kidney-shaped bracts. Catkins in early to mid spring.
Salix daphnoides, violet willow: Height to 10 m; twigs covered in very pale blue bloom, erect growing habit, arching branches. The leaves are five times as long as they are wide, blue green on the reverse. Large catkins in spring. A fine tree, even in quite small gardens.
Salix hastata syn Salix wehrhahnii: Height to 80 cm; a shrub with small, oval leaves and large silvery catkins. ‘Wehrhahnii’ is the best known garden form, and very suitable for confined spaces.
Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’, corkscrew willow: Height to 10 m; tree or shrub with curiously twisted branches; even the foliage is twisted. Very popular in gardens.
Salix purpurea, purple willow: Height to 4 m; a shrub with yellow or red twigs, and spatula-shaped leaves. Tolerates drought, will even grow in sand dunes. ‘Nana’ is a lower growing, creeping form.
Salix repens, creeping willow: Height to 1 m; young shoots are covered in soft down. Beautiful shrubs for planting on slopes.
Salix sachalinensis ‘Sekka’: Height to 5 m; a spreading shrub, the branches flattened at the tips . The catkins are very popular in flower.