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Pussy Willow Tree

Salix caprea

2 Reviews
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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

Pussy Willow is a classic plant that brightens up indoor spaces in late winter. It has a long traditional association with Easter and spring, as the fat, fuzzy buds quickly sprout into large, bright-yellow bottle-brush flowers when cut branches are brought indoors. These bring the hope of spring into homes and churches long before spring arrives outdoors. It is an easy-to-grow large shrub or small tree that if left unpruned can reach 25 feet tall. However, it is usually pruned by cutting it close to the ground every year or two, so it can easily be kept to about 6 feet tall. This also makes it easier to harvest the young branches that have the flower-buds on them. As well as being grown for flowers, this plant is a great choice for an informal screen in damp soil, or to plant by ponds, streams, rivers and lakes. It will also grow well in ordinary garden soil.

  • Bright yellow fuzzy flowers develop on cut branches indoors
  • Popular Easter and spring decoration
  • Excellent fast-growing screen for damp soils
  • Easily grown in normal soil
  • Simply cut back to keep it small

Plant Pussy Willow in a sunny or partially-shaded spot in damp or normal soil. It grows well in both wet and regular garden soils, but if you have wet areas, this is a great choice, as many plants will not grow well in those conditions. It has no serious pests or diseases and grows rapidly. To control its size, cut as hard as needed – even right to the ground – in spring as soon as flowering is over. Wait a few years for the tree to become established and strong before doing this for the first time. Unlike larger willows, this tree is unlikely to create any problems with drainage systems.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-8
Mature Width 12-15
Mature Height 12-25 ft.
Soil Conditions Normal to wet
Sunlight Full sun to partial shade
Drought Tolerance Fair
Zones 4-8

In late winter, we all tire of the cold, snow and rain. It is always nice to have something to bring into the house that tells us spring is not far away. One of the oldest, and still very popular plants for that purpose is the Pussy Willow. This is an easy-to-grow large shrub that produces catkins 1 – 2 inches long either outdoors in spring, or indoors in late winter. Catkins are special flower-structures produced by Willow trees, and on the Pussy Willow male tree, these spend the window as big, silver-grey fat buds, which open into long ‘bottle-brushes’ that are bright yellow.

When not flowering, Pussy Willow is an upright shrub with narrow-oval shaped leaves up to 6 inches long. The young branches are an attractive glossy deep brown color. This is a fast-growing plant, which will grow 3 feet or more in a season. It makes an excellent informal screen around your property, especially if you have damp or wet conditions. It also grows well along streams and beside ponds and lakes. It will also grow happily in regular garden soil, although it is not particularly drought-resistant. In fall the leaves turn yellow before dropping to the ground, showing the beautiful branches and fat, grey buds.

Because we have specially-selected male trees, we know there will be a big demand for this popular tree to brighten the dark days of winter. Order now and avoid the disappointment of missing out on this very special and unique plant.

Growing Pussy Willows

This variety of Pussy Willow (Salix caprea) is considered the best of several Willow species that produce large catkins. It is also called Goat Willow and sometimes French Willow, as it comes originally from Europe, where it is native. It also grows wild across western and central Asia. In northern countries, from Russia and Poland to western Europe, it has been used for centuries at Easter to replace the palm used on Palm Sunday. Groups such as the Polish people, brought this habit to America when they migrated.

It is often already in bloom by Easter, while other plants are still dormant, or it can easily be forced into bloom indoors. This plant, like other Willows, has separate male and female trees, and only the male trees produce the attractive catkins. Our plants are all male plants, which produce the best catkins, while cheaper seedling trees will be unknown and half of them will not flower attractively.

Planting Location

When planting your Pussy Willow tree, choose a spot in full sun or partial shade. If you are not planning to prune it regularly, allow enough room for it to grow, as it can become 12 to 15 feet wide. An unpruned tree may be 15 to 25 feet tall, so it is excellent planted at the back of a larger garden. It has a few pests and diseases, but none that are serious, and regular pruning will keep it healthy. This is a very easy plant to grow in any garden, and children love the soft, fuzzy buds.

Pruning

Most gardeners prune this plant regularly, to keep it smaller and make it produce lots of long young branches with plenty of catkins, for cutting. This is easy to do – simply cut down the tree almost to the ground in spring after flowering. It will quickly re-sprout into a dense, bushy plant and be ready to flower again by the next spring. It is easy to bring this plant into flower indoors. Any time from early February on, simply cut as many young branches as you want, bring them indoors and place them in a vase of water. You can tell which stems will flower, because the buds will be large and fuzzy, while buds that just produce leaves are smaller and shiny.

Within a couple of weeks or a few days, the buds will open, grow long and become like little yellow brushes. Stems cut before February will usually not open, as a period of cold weather is needed to get the plants ready to wake up. The closer to spring it is, the quicker the buds will open. They will of course also open naturally outdoors in early spring, as soon as the weather outside becomes a little warmer.

Misconceptions

Willow trees have a bad reputation for blocking drains and become very large, but the Pussy Willow is a much smaller tree that, while it should not be planted near buildings or drains, does not make the same problems as larger Willow trees do. If you have a larger property and plant several trees, there is a good demand for bunches of Pussy Willow at Farmer’s Markets in spring, and this is a good way to make your garden pay you back – at least in part.

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Pussy Willow Tree

Salix caprea

2 Reviews
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