Dappled Willow

Salix x integra ‘Hakuru Nishiki’

dappled willow

I always enjoy monitoring trends in gardening.  One of the plants that has begun to gain in popularity is dappled willow.  This versatile plant is easy to grow and suitable for many applications in the garden.  The young pink twigs are beautiful even before the leaves begin to show in spring.  But the real show is in June, when the entire shrub billows with pink, white and green leaves.

Smaller plants make excellent container specimens all by themselves or look beautiful under-planted with colorful annuals.  Larger shrubs are very effective planted in groups in larger landscapes, or alone to punctuate areas of the garden with their fluffy foliage.  Allowed to grow to a larger size and sheared a few times a year, they can make a lovely hedge as well.

Gardeners are not limited to a shrub form, either.  We often sell them grown as a standard tree.  They are very ornamental and easily maintained, with a yearly trim.  In a large pot, they would really look great, highlighting corners of a patio, or placed at the entry to a stately home.  Or plant a larger one right in the ground, where a small tree is needed.

Dappled willow grow well in many conditions, but thrive in wet, fertile soils.  They perform in full sun to part shade.  If planted in a pot, be sure to keep them well-watered.  If they dry out once, the tips will tend to wilt and brown.

The look of these plants can be manipulated with thoughtful pruning while dormant.  Once established, hard pruning produces an abundance of pink twigs and the best variegation.  Standard trees can be allowed to grow wild and wooly, or tightly trimmed to produce a fun lollipop look.

So, give them a try –  we love them and it’s awfully fun impressing your friends by rattling off the name in Japanese -Hakaru Nishiki!

For more photos, check out our pinterest board, Dappled Willow

-Brad MacDonald