Alphabetical Plant Listing

Salix purpurea (Purple Willow)

Alaska Blue Willow, Purple Willow, Purple Osier, Bitter Willow, Basket Willow, Salix purpurea 'Helix'


Salix purpurea (Purple Willow) is a spreading deciduous shrub or small tree of upright, rounded habit with arching purplish young stems turning gray as they age. They bear narrowly oblong, fine-textured, blue-green leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), with silvery-blue undersides. The leaves are densely arranged along the thin stems, and flutter in the breeze, create a rippling bicolored effect. In early to mid spring, slender silvery catkins, packed with tiny flowers, appear before the leaves. Fast-growing, very cold-hardy, Purple Willow can be used as a specimen, in group planting, near bodies of water, as an informal hedge, or as a deciduous screen. Its suckering habit aids in erosion control and makes it a good candidate on embankments. The stems can be harvested and used in the production of baskets.

  • Grows up to 10-15 ft. tall and wide (300-450 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun, in deep, medium to wet, well-drained soils. Very adaptable to poor soils. Dislikes shallow chalk soils and is intolerant of dry soils.
  • Great for hedges and screens, coastal gardens, wildlife gardens, or along streams or ponds.
  • Easy to grow, low maintenance and deer tolerant. Watch for aphids, caterpillars, leaf beetles, sawflies, willow anthracnose or rust.
  • Prune as needed in late winter to early spring. Many gardeners prune the stems back in late winter each year to encourage more vigorous growth, more colorful foliage (as it results in new growth), and to control the plant size.
  • Can be subjected to rejuvenation pruning, taken down to 4-24 in. (10-60 cm) above the ground.
  • Propagate by softwood or hardwood cuttings.
  • Find where this species is invasive in the United States.
  • Native to Europe, Northern Africa, temperate central Asia and Japan.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 7
Heat Zones 1 – 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Salix - Willows
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United Kingdom
Tolerance Clay Soil, Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow

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Andreas Rockstein (Flickr), Imamchits, Ihor Hvozdetskyi (Shutterstock)

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.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 7
Heat Zones 1 – 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Salix - Willows
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Spread 10' – 15' (3m – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average, High
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Poorly Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United Kingdom
Tolerance Clay Soil, Deer, Wet Soil
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Uses Hedges and Screens, Ponds and Streams
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Prairie and Meadow

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Salix - Willows

Guides with Salix - Willows

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