Corkscrew Willow

Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'

3 Reviews

Corkscrew Willow

Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'

3 Reviews


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


Trees with exotic forms are in high demand and none is easier to grow or more beautiful than the Corkscrew Willow. This small to medium-sized tree is grown mainly for the beauty of its exotic twisted branches, which are most noticeable in winter and create a lovely picture.

• Fast growing and easy in many conditions
• Exciting spiral and twisting foliage of great beauty
• Ideal choice for damp locations
• Great in containers and as bonsai too
• Hardy and pest free

The Corkscrew Willow grows quickly to a height of 20 to 30 feet and 10 to 15 feet across. It is an easy and fast growing tree that will grow in any kind of soil, in full sun or partial-shade, even in damp areas, such as the banks of rivers and streams, or by ponds. This tree will grow from zone 4 to zone 8. A terrific way to produce an attractive small tree in just a few years, this tree is a visual centre piece and a real talking point with friends and neighbours too.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 15-30
Mature Height 20-40
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-8

Winter can be a bleak time of year, especially in the northern states, so plants that bring interest at that time are always valuable additions to your property. The Corkscrew Willow is at its best in winter, when the bare branches twist against the winter sky, creating a romantic and exotic picture in your landscape. These twisted branches can be cut and brought inside to make lovely winter arrangements, alone or mixed with other winter foliage and they will look beautiful in your home. They are in high demand by florists and flower-arrangers.

The Corkscrew Willow is a hardy, fast-growing tree that will grow 2 to 3 feet a year and can be grown from zone 4 to zone 8 in any type of soil. It will do best in damper soil and even wet soil, so it is an ideal specimen to plant along a stream, by a lake or near a large pond, where it will reflect its beauty in the water and look even more romantic.

A tree as exotic and attractive as this is always in high demand, so although we receive regular shipments, shortages can occur. If you want to enjoy this unique and beautiful tree in your own garden, make sure you order now to avoid being disappointed.

Growing Corkscrew Willows

The Corkscrew is quite small for a Willow tree and it does not have the same large root system that other willows do. Of all the willows it best suited for smaller gardens and since it can be pruned very hard if needed, its growth can be controlled for almost any space. If your garden is extremely small, or you have just a courtyard or terrace, this tree makes an exotic hardy plant for a container, where it can be pruned back and even grown as a bonsai, to give an oriental feel to the simplest garden.


This tree can be grown everywhere except for the coldest parts of the mid-west and the warmest parts of the South and the West Coast. It will grow in any soil, from sand to clay and from acid to alkaline, as long as it is not dry. Established trees can tolerate periods of drought, but this tree does best in damp or even wet soil where many other trees will not grow, so it is an ideal choice for planting by water.

Planting Location

It looks lovely reflected in a pond or stream and seems most at home in that kind of location. If you just have a small pond, plant this tree in a large, attractive pot and stand it by that pond. It can also give an instant oriental look to the garden and is an ideal choice for a potted tree in a courtyard or on a terrace. The Corkscrew Willow will grow in full sun or partial shade. It can have some minor pest problems but these are rarely serious and it is resistant to deer and is non-invasive, so it is an ideal choice for a larger country property.

Growth Rate and Appearance

This tree will quickly grow 20 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide, with a semi-upright habit. The stems grow upright at a narrow angle to the main trunk, before gracefully curving over to a horizontal position as they mature. All parts of the tree are twisted, from the leaves to the branches and the young shoots. The young stems are olive-green, turning light brown as they mature and the bark on the main trunk is dark-brown, roughly textured and attractive.

The flowers are small, green ‘catkins’ that are less than an inch long and hidden among the new leaves in spring. The leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, narrow, spear-shaped and twisted. They are an attractive yellow-green in spring, turning to a fresh, light-green all summer and then making a lovely display in fall when the whole tree turns a bright, clear yellow.

History and Origins of the Corkscrew Willow

The Corkscrew Willow is a special form of the Chinese Willow (Salix matsudana). This tree, as you might guess, grows wild in northern China and is one of around 400 types of Willows found in all countries of the Northern Hemisphere. The wild form of this plant is rarely seen outside China, but the twisted form (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’), which is the Corkscrew Willow, was brought to America in 1923 by the famous Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and distributed across the country to become a favorite tree of all gardeners.

A tree with such an unusual form must be grown the correct way, from stem pieces of properly identified plants. Our trees are produced in this way, so avoid cheaper seedling trees that will not have any of this trees exotic qualities and beauty.

Planting and Caring For Your Corkscrew Willow

To plant your Corkscrew Willow, choose a location where the tree will have room to develop and dig a hole that is twice the width of the pot. Place the tree at the same depth or just a little deeper than it was in the pot and replace most of the soil. Water well and when the water has all drained away replace the rest of the soil. Water weekly during the first season and then keep your tree moist, especially in summer.

If your Corkscrew Willow should become too large it can easily be pruned as much as needed. It can even be cut right back to the trunk and it will quickly re-sprout and grow back rapidly. With regular pruning it can be kept to almost any size, especially when growing in a container.

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Corkscrew Willow

Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'

3 Reviews