A Little Bit About Gardening

Weeping Pussy Willow (Salix Caprea Pendula)

Salix caprea ‘pendula’ – Silvery-pinkish catkins, weeping form, dwarf

zone 4-9

height 5-6 feet

Perfect for a city yard, and a true sign of Spring.  This hardy little ornamental is a charmer with plentiful catkins.  Plant it in a spot with full sun and less than great drainage.  This tree needs water daily, so mulching is wise to keep the ground damp. 

To Prune (winter is best according to JPR Environmental )

  • taking off older branches,
  • those that cross over other branches,
  • those that are coming from the main stem (that’s the rootstock and not the weeping willow),
  • as well as any vertical seeking branches.
  • all of this above should be about 1/3 of the new growth.
  • about every 4 years, prune the branches 4/5 back to the main stem for new growth, since new growth is where catkins are abundant.

Weeping Pussy Willow is a graceful ornamental, but it does take some care.  I’ll be transplanting mine outside once it’s Spring!

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42 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Shar:

    I bought one of these weeping willows too. Beautiful, but now all the blooms are gone and the leaves are coming. My instruction says to “cut back to within two inches of the stem allowing new branches to come for the following year.” I’m not sure what they mean by this. I live in Vancouver, BC. What do you suggest?

    Thanks
    Shar

  • 2 ellen:

    Pruning this tree back is a must to keep it in shape. I suggest this coming winter prune up to a third of the branches back like your instructions suggest. If the plant gets out of control during the growing season, there’s no fear of cutting back some in summer. Please let me know if I can offer up anymore suggestions. This week, I’ll talk more about the art of pruning.

  • 3 Kenneth:

    I gave my mom a WPW for Mother’s Day , she did not take care of it. She threw it in the trash. I “rescued” this dead, and very dry tree. I put it on my porch, and watered it everyday. Before long, not only did it come back to life, it grew double in size. The tag on the tree said to bring it in for the first winter, so I did. I live in a condo so I planting it outside is not an option. I will be putting it back on my porch in the spring. So my question is, how long can I keep the WPW in a pot? No, my mom will not get it back.

  • 4 ellen:

    I think keeping it in a pot is perfect. It may need some serious pruning though. I’d also check each year to make sure the roots aren’t bound. This can happen with potted plants. Taking it out and cutting through the roots some and planting in a larger container will revive the root system.

    They’re tough to kill. I’m surprised your mom almost accomplished that!!!

  • 5 Kathleen:

    I have purchase 4 of these trees. They start off looking lovely,, then the leaves come out and they are beautiful ! Then the tips of the shoots turn gray and die. It’s heartbreaking. What could be happening?

  • 6 ellen:

    Kathleen,
    I’m not sure. What zone are you in? So far this little tree needs lots of pruning, but I’ve had no problems with greying and dying. Is it outside in a sunny spot? Does it get plenty of water? Trees need extra care the first years of their lives.
    I hope you try again and with more happy outcomes.
    Ellen

  • 7 Nancy L Bragg:

    I recently bought a table top minature Weeping Pussy Willow and it started to grow lots of little branches but all of a sudden the leaves have started to turn brown. Can you please tell me why this is happening I really love the plant and would be sad if it dies on me? I keep the soil moist.

  • 8 ellen:

    Possibly could be that the plant isn’t getting enough light. They like full sun, but can do alright in light shade. Most times our house, even in a sunny southern or eastern window won’t provide 6-8 hours of sun required for “full sun.” Another factor to consider is if it’s too close to a heat source. Good Luck, perhaps it would be nice to transplant it outdoors this Spring. Most only reach a height of 4 feet, which is great as a little accent in a spring bulb garden.

  • 9 Laura:

    I have a weeping pussy willow for several years. the first year it bloomed beautifully. Now it has very few blooms. I did not know about pruning it. should I take all the dead branches off under the other ones that have leaves later in the season? Should I also cut them back so they are shorter and closer to the tree trunk? Should I fertilize it?

  • 10 christine kinsman:

    I want to buy one of these miniatures and can’t find a place that sells them. I had one that I got at a Wegman’s store last year and it was damaged this spring. Can anyone help me out???

  • 11 ellen:

    yes yes yes. All of those. My tree gets very tangled, so I prune twice a year at least. Adding compost is a great way to fertilize without chemicals.

  • 12 ellen:

    I got mine from Trader Joe’s of all places, one winter. I had it inside until all danger of frost had past and then transplanted it outdoors to a sunny spot. Several nurseries sell them. Just do a search online. Good luck!

  • 13 Elena Rice:

    I just bought mini weeping willow which is already 12 inch and 5 years old.It looks very healthy, long branches with coming green leaves. I do not know what to do with it? Should I prune the long branches right away? Should I put this plant in the planter outside or Should I plant it in the ground already? I live in CT in Glastonbury.

  • 14 ellen:

    If you’ve got a nice spot for the little tree, I’d put him outside.

  • 15 Tanya:

    I bought mine from Home Depot. It looks so beautiful in my new small garden next to my house. It is a great accent piece.

  • 16 Tanya:

    The Lavendar twist rosebud is also a great small ornamental tree to plant near the house.It also only grow to about 6 feet with pink flowers.

  • 17 Judy Williams:

    I purchased two pussys this spring and planted them on the same side of the house about 30 feet apart (balanced effect). When I planted them I used a root stimulator and placed Miracle grow soil around them. One is doing well but the second one not so. The leaves are turning grey and are drying. Any suggestions?

  • 18 Eileen:

    I bought my table top weeping pussy willow at Home Depot
    it has lots of green leaves now, I’m not sure if I should cut all the green of.

  • 19 ellen:

    Is it winter kill? did they go through the winter outside?

  • 20 Eileen:

    no, I just put it outside a week ago and now it has all these green leaves.

  • 21 Mags:

    My little tree is also having the same experience with leaves drying. It’s in full sun so … I’m thinking that after trimming the branches of 6 or so inches, I’ll repot and put it outdoors in a well-lit spot with no direct sunlight.

  • 22 Holdenalix:

    I put my WPW in my yard 5 years ago, I live in Central New York. Pruned it a year or so ago and I got these long branches that grew up. We cut them off this summer. I now have new shoots growing up so what I am trying is bending them under the old branches to get them to grow down. So how could I fix the tree so it grows down.

  • 23 ellen:

    How long are you letting the branches get? They should start to bend.

  • 24 Carol Hengemuehl:

    I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, winters get really cold here, if I transplant m tree outside will it survive the winter

  • 25 ellen:

    I’m not sure what your zone is, but the weeping pussy willow is only hardy to zone 4.

  • 26 Mary Ellen:

    Just got my wpw for mothers day.live in zone 5-6.Plan to put outside for summer.Should I bring in this winter?Also when do I prune?

  • 27 Vicki Carr:

    Hi I have had my wpt for 3 weeks live in NC it gets full sun and water every day the leaves are turning brown and looks like it trying to die what can I do to save it

  • 28 ellen:

    Is it in a pot, perhaps it’s too small of a container. Trying moving it to part shade, water and fertilize? Until it’s back on it’s feet.

  • 29 ellen:

    Gradually put it outdoors for a few hours a day, to harden it off. By three days, leave it out longer, transplant after a week or so. Transplanting is hard for a plant. Let it get acclimated over the summer, prune mid summer to shape, and you should be good.

    Good Luck!

  • 30 Judy Cavagnaro:

    If the bottom is growing shoots does that mean the top of the miniature willow is still alive? No leaves yet but it looks like there are buds.I left it outside in a pot all winter in zone 5. Could it just be very slow?

  • 31 Tamara:

    I just received a WPW as a gift. The plant is 12 inches tall and is flowering now. Would it be safe to plant it outside now or should I keep it indoors through the next winter? Also, about how tall will this tree grow? I’ve seen conflicting info. Some articles say up to 6-8 feet while others 4-6 feet.

  • 32 ellen:

    I would put it in the ground now. The tree varies in mature height. Mine is about 3ft and four years old? I’ve seen some that are 6ft. You can never tell.

  • 33 ellen:

    It may have suffered from this cold winter, esp. if it was in a pot. You can try your luck at seeing how it comes back, but if it’s not looking how you want, I’d get another and try getting it in the ground before winter.

  • 34 Joel:

    What fertilizer do you guys recommend and how often.
    Live in San Diego.

    Thank you!

  • 35 ellen:

    I use compost that comes straight from my kitchen and garden. Vermicompost is great, worm castings. If that’s out of reach, try Espoma. They’ve got great organic plant food.

  • 36 Sharon:

    I got a weeping pussy willow for mothers day. We planted it in the yard with all day sun. I live in the eastern side of North Carolina, just 7 miles east of I 95. I make sure it has lots of water, good soil, and I feed it. Now, it is what looks like burning at the ends of the stems. They are dying and turning brown. Should I trim it back now? Maybe, cove it from the harsh sun? What can I do to save this little beauty. I read where you said not to put near a heat source. We planted ours around a metal wheelchair ramp, could this be the problem?

  • 37 janine janvier:

    does anyone know where I can buy a mini weeping
    pussywillow? I put miracle grow on mine and it looks like it
    is dead-all of the leaves crinkled up on it
    My tree is about 20 inches high
    Any help would be appreciated
    thsnk you

  • 38 ellen:

    I got mine during the early Spring from Trader Joes here in Chicago. I quick google search, and you’ll probably find a nursery that sells them. Good Luck!

  • 39 ellen:

    It could be getting burned from the metal ramp, depending on how close it is. I would suggest pruning the burned parts. Since it is newly transplanted, this little guy does need some extra care. Perhaps giving it a little shade in the middle of the day (if possible) could help. Too much heat and light in the afternoon may just be putting him over the edge.

  • 40 janine janvier:

    Could someone tell me if they bought theirs online, what site
    they used?
    I have searched online with no luck.

  • 41 Marion Mitchell:

    I bought a weeping pussy willow last year. The leaves dried up and fell off but there were a lot of flowers. This year the leaves came back and the tree was begining to look great. Overnight the tree has curled up leaves and some are lacey as if a bug is eating it. What can I do to stop this?

  • 42 ellen:

    Try applying neem oil. It’s an organic solution for bug/fungus/bacterial issues. Sounds like something is having a feast. Read the packaging carefully or ask the garden center how the specific product you buy is to be applied. Spray on early morning or after dusk.

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