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Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’ (Black Pussy Willow)

Black Pussy Willow, Black Willow

AGM Award
Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys', Black Pussy Willow, Black Willow, Catkins
Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys', Black Pussy Willow, Black Willow, Catkins

Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’ (Black Pussy Willow) is a bushy deciduous shrub boasting rich purple-black winter stems covered with a profusion of showy deep purple-black catkins adorned with red anthers. The anthers will later turn yellow as they mature. Produced by male plants, they are on display in early spring before the foliage emerges. The oval, glossy leaves are gray-green when young. This mounded willow is a pretty ornamental plant, thanks to its arching habit and remarkable display of catkins. In early spring, its flowering branches are in high demand.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Grows up to 6-10 ft. tall and wide (2-3 m). May be cut to the ground every 3-5 years to keep a smaller shrub size.
  • Performs best in full sun in moderately fertile, moist, well-drained soils.
  • Easy to grow and easy to care for . Keep an eye out for aphids, caterpillars, leaf beetles, sawflies, willow anthracnose diseases and a rust.
  • Propagate by root softwood cuttings in early summer or hardwood cuttings in winter.
  • Prune every 1-3 years in March for colored winter shoots.

Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Salicaceae
Genus Salix
Common names Willow, Japanese Pussy
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Spread 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Plant of Merit, Showy
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Salix lasiandra (Shining Willow)
Salix exigua (Coyote Willow)
Salix lasiolepis (Arroyo Willow)
Salix nigra (Black Willow)
Salix purpurea (Purple Willow)
Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’ (Japanese Pink Pussy Willow)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Pussy Willow: The Ultimate Guide to Growing and Caring for This Spring Beauty
Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
Green Canopy, Better World: Exploring the Benefits of Trees
Trees that Invite Wildlife to Your Garden
Create a Garden with Great Winter Interest
Native Plant Alternatives to Salix babylonica (Weeping Willow)
Native Plant Alternatives to Salix alba (White Willow)
Shrubs and Trees with Colorful and Distinctive Twigs in Winter
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Salicaceae
Genus Salix
Common names Willow, Japanese Pussy
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Spread 6' - 10'
(180cm - 3m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Plant of Merit, Showy
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Salix (Willow)
Guides with
Salix (Willow)
Not sure which Salix (Willow) to pick?
Compare Now

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