Weeping Golden Willow

Salix x sepulcralis var. chrysocoma (= Salix alba 'Tristis')

Weeping Golden Willow

Salix x sepulcralis var. chrysocoma (= Salix alba 'Tristis')

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


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


The Weeping Golden Willow is a large deciduous tree for large gardens, or for growing in a large tub. It will reach 75 feet tall, or more, with a wide spread, and should be planted in an open area with plenty of room. It has long pendulous branches that are golden-yellow, and bright green spring leaves. The fall leaves are yellow. The weeping habit of this tree makes it incredibly beautiful, and this particular variety is the very best choice of the different weeping willows that are available.

  • The very best weeping willow to grow
  • Pendulous curtain of golden-yellow branches
  • Bright green young leaves in early spring
  • Beautiful fall leaves of clear yellow
  • Perfect tree to plant beside water

The Golden Weeping Willow should be grown in full sun or some partial shade, in almost any soil that is not dry. It grows well in wet ground and even standing in shallow water, and it is very fast growing, reaching about 30 feet in 10 years. Some pests or diseases are possible, and it may be damaged in major storms, but planted in the right place it is too beautiful not to grow. It can also be grown for some years in a large planter, and even stood in that planter in a garden pond.

Plant Hardiness Zones 2-8
Mature Width 50-100
Mature Height 75-100
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 2-8

If there is one tree that is instantly recognizable across the world, it has to be the weeping willow. This iconic tree is an eternal favorite with everyone, gardener or not. Its romantic outline and graceful hanging branches have a special and unique charm that no other tree offers, and this is a tree that we could all gaze on for hours. Sadly often mis-planted, without sufficient room, it has a bad reputation with some people, but if you have room, and preferably a body of water too, then nothing can match it for rapid growth, incredible beauty in all seasons, and a look that nothing else can come near. There are actually several ‘weeping willows’, but without doubt the Golden Weeping Willow is the very best of them all. Growing into a large tree in a short time, and a very large tree sometime later, it should be planted in a large garden or wild area, well away from buildings and underground services. If you have that space, then you will never regret planting this beautiful tree. If not, grow it in a large tub or planter to enjoy its grace and beauty in a smaller garden or even a courtyard.

Growing the Weeping Golden Willow

Size and Appearance

The Weeping Golden Willow is a large deciduous tree that will grow very rapidly to easily be over 75 feet tall and 50 feet wide, or even larger. Since it will add at least 2 feet a year, and often more, to its size, within a decade it will be pushing up towards 30 feet tall and wide. It has a thick trunk, often divided into several major limbs, and the bark is deeply fissured and gray-brown, giving a rugged look to this beautiful tree. The smaller branches hang vertically from the main limbs, in a curtain that can reach the ground, even from a mature tree. The young stems are golden-yellow, which looks beautiful in winter and early spring. It is this feature that give the tree its name ‘golden willow’. As the stems age over a few years they become olive-green, but new growth maintains the golden look.

The leaves are slightly curving elongated ovals, up to 4 inches long, and about ½ inch wide. Young leaves in spring – which develop very early in the season compared to most other trees – are pale green, and a newly-sprouted tree simply glows with beauty in that first haze of young leaves on the golden stems. As the leaves mature they turn dark green, and then, in fall, they turn clear yellow, making a striking fall specimen.

The flowers are soft catkins that stand upright, opening among the new leaves and adding to the haze effect. It takes closer examination of your tree to see them, and this tree is unique among willows in having both male and female parts on each catkin, while other willows have separate male and female catkins.

Using the Weeping Golden Willow in Your Garden

This tree is a large specimen for a larger garden, and sadly it is unsuitable for small gardens – unless you grow it for a time in a large planter, where it will look great as a small tree, and well-worth growing for several years of beauty. In the ground this fast-growing tree is perfect on a large lawn, or on a slope. It looks excellent beside water, where it is completely at home. Do not plant within 100 feet of buildings, water pipes. sewage pipes or septic systems.


The Weeping Golden Willow is incredibly hardy, growing well even in zone 2, and throughout the country right into zone 8 – truly a tree for anywhere.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Full sun is best for your Weeping Golden Willow. It will tolerate a few hours of shade each day, although growth will be a little slower. It grows well in any moist soil, and even in flooded ground, so it is easy to grow beside a stream, lake or river. It grows in clay soils, and both alkaline and acid conditions, but not in dry, sandy soils.

Maintenance and Pruning

No significant maintenance is needed for the Weeping Golden Willow, but some formative pruning, to develop a few major limbs, is helpful. If you are growing this tree in ordinary garden conditions, use mulch, especially when young, and water frequently. It can suffer from several pests or diseases, but these are not usually major problems. Some storm damage may occur – another reason not to plant close to buildings or anywhere it could become a hazard.

History and Origin of the Weeping Golden Willow

The original weeping willow was the Peking willow, Salix babylonica, which occurred first in northern China. A distinctive form with hanging branches, called ‘Pendula’, was traded along the Silk Road, and for centuries it was planted in many areas through central and western Asia. That tree was found to be difficult to grow well in Europe because it is not sufficiently cold resistant. A related species, the white willow, Salix alba, grows throughout Europe. That tree has a form with yellow branches, called ‘Vitellina’, and this is the original golden willow. In the late 19th century, at the Späth Nursery in Berlin, Germany, a cross was made between these two species, which had the yellow twigs and cold resistance of the golden willow, and the weeping habit of the Peking willow. It was first released by the nursery in 1888, and this is the plant we know today as the Weeping Golden Willow. The basic cross between Peking willow and white willow is today called Salix x sepulcralis (the cross has been made several times), and this particular tree is called variety chrysocoma. It is also sometimes listed as Salix alba ‘Tristis’.

Buying the Weeping Golden Willow at The Tree Center

Planted in the right place the Weeping Golden Willow is so beautiful it will have you weeping too. A tree this close to the heart of so many people is always in high demand, so stock is always scarce. Order now while we still have plants available.

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Weeping Golden Willow

Salix x sepulcralis var. chrysocoma (= Salix alba 'Tristis')