A Salix Caprea Pendula Care Information

A Weeping Pussy Willow is a gorgeous addition to a backyard. Listed here are care tricks to preserve this small, enticing tree wholesome and looking out its finest.

My San Francisco Bay Space consumer ordered the one from Wayside Gardens as a brand new plant round 2001, which I planted after which maintained.  It’s not a plant generally bought in these components, so I used to be very curious to see how it will do.

Though there have been fairly just a few Pussy Willows rising across the pond on my childhood farm in New England, I didn’t even know there was a weeping selection.  Gardening is usually experimentation, and I really like weeping vegetation, so I stated, “Why not give it a go?” Moreover, it had already arrived on the doorstep.

I now not dwell in San Francisco, and the proprietor not too long ago bought the home. I maintained this plant for over fifteen years, and though I now not am knowledgeable gardener, this submit badly wanted an replace!

Observe: This submit was printed on 1/20/2016. It was up to date on 2/26/2024.

Weeping Pussy Willow Plant Traits

A very full & green weeping pussy willow tree grows in a garden next to plants with white flowers.
This photograph was taken within the spring of two012, proper after I had pruned the plant.

Botanic Identify: Salix caprea Pendula Frequent Identify: Weeping Pussy Willow

Rising Zone

By the USDA Plant Hardiness Map, the Weeping Pussy Willow is beneficial to be grown in zones 4-8. Zone 4 reaches -24 levels F, so this plant can deal with chilly winters.

By the best way, the one you see right here grows in zone 9b – 10a. That is out of the beneficial zone, but it surely’s doing good. I’ve seen a pair rising pondside in England; they had been beautiful!

I planted this one within the spring, however fall is okay, too, so long as it has time to settle in earlier than a frost.


This distinctive weeping backyard accent shrub is already over 7′ tall.  The width is about the identical.  I imagine they max out at 8-10′.

It has a low cover, not appropriate for adults to take a seat or stand beneath.  Her younger nieces appreciated to take a seat beneath it and have personal “fairy tea events.”

Progress Charge

Pussy Willows develop at a quick fee. It has grown in width greater than in top and turns right into a massively foliated blob if not pruned two or thrice a 12 months within the temperate coastal California local weather.

Large Draw

The rounded, fascinating kind and the truth that it stays small make it interesting. They’re the harbingers of spring, as their fuzzy catkins are a number of the first to look, even earlier than the foliage.

A weeping pussy willow outdoors next to a white picket fence.
That is the way you don’t wish to prune a Weeping Pussy Willow. An arborist was pruning the big timber sooner or later, & determined to prune this plant virtually all the best way again. It took a 12 months for it to develop its signature kind once more.

Weeping Pussy Willow Care

These vegetation are powerful and are fairly simple to take care of. We lovingly nicknamed the plant pictured right here “Cousin Itt” & later shortened that to only “Itt.” And sure, when left unpruned, they flip into the leafy variations of the amusing character from the Addams Household.


The Weeping Pussy Willow prefers full solar however will do wonderful partially solar so long as it’s afternoon solar. The one you see right here is planted in a really sunny spot, but it surely’s on the California coast, so mornings and late afternoons are often foggy.

Not sufficient solar equals poor flowering and a lowered progress fee.

Water Necessities

These vegetation like common watering and look significantly better with it. This one is on drip irrigation and is situated in part of the backyard the place the water flows down a hill and collects on this spot. 

Pussy Willows develop simply wonderful alongside ponds and don’t thoughts having their toes moist in soggy soils. They’ll even tolerate standing water. If yours has dried out, remember to give it an extended drink of water. 

A weeping pussy willow tree growing in a garden in early fall as its leaves are turning yellow.
Right here’s Cousin Itt because the leaves begin to change coloration in early fall.


Merely put, the WPW isn’t fussy about soil however prefers it barely on the acidic facet. For those who suppose yours wants a bump up on the nourishment issue, you’ll be able to amend the soil with leaf mildew or an excellent native compost – the plant will love you.

I planted this one within the spring, however fall is okay, too, so long as it has time to settle in earlier than a frost.


I’ve by no means fertilized this one, however threw a number of leaf mildew, compost, and coco coir into the opening upon planting.  This backyard will get a 2-3″ high dressing of an area, natural compost (over ten cubic yards of it!) each two years, which the Weeping Pussy Willow totally enjoys.

I don’t suppose yours will want it, however a balanced all-purpose fertilizer (10-10-10 or 15-15-15) utilized as soon as through the rising season will assist out when you really feel it’s nutrient-deprived.


This one has grown in width greater than in top and turns right into a massively foliated blob if not pruned two or thrice a 12 months within the temperate coastal California local weather.

Some folks simply let theirs go when it comes to pruning. These look nice in additional of a pure setting. The backyard this WPW grows in is a cultivated, semi-formal fashion, so the plant seems to be higher thinned out and opened up a bit.

I like to prune, and giving Cousin Itt a haircut was a inventive problem I really loved. The most effective time to prune this plant is within the early spring after it flowers. 

As a result of the one you see right here grows in a temperate local weather, I pruned it thrice a 12 months to maintain it in a extra refined kind. As soon as in early spring, as soon as in midsummer, and as soon as in early fall.

In 2011, I needed to rehab it from a horrible pruning job, a extreme hack, I let you know! As a result of these weepers develop vigorously and are so powerful, this one returned to its former self inside a 12 months or so.

I gave this Weeping Pussy Willow a 12 months or two to get going earlier than I pruned it. Right here’s how I pruned this plant when it obtained older and extra established. Make sure that your pruning instruments are clear and sharp.

1) Take away all of the sprouts coming off the trunk.

2) Take away the branches that cross over different branches.

3) Skinny out the primary branches to open the plant up.

4) Take away a number of the smaller branches on the highest which can be rising upwards. Take away all branches rising up when you don’t need your plant to develop any taller. This plant is slowly getting taller as a result of I depart about half of them.

5) Take away some branches that develop laterally off the primary branches.  This branching tends to happen on the underside half of the branches.

6) In all the earlier steps, remember to take the branches you’re pruning off all the best way again to a fundamental department. In any other case, you’ll get extra lateral progress than you need.

7) I prune the remaining branches up just a few inches off the bottom. Although this causes lateral branching, I don’t need it smothering all of the poor unsuspecting vegetation beneath.

Close up of the graft on a weeping pussy willow tree.
By no means prune off beneath the graft (the bulbous, swollen half the arrow is pointing to) until you’d moderately have a Pussy Willow bush moderately than a Weeping Pussy Willow Tree.


Because the picture above exhibits, this small tree wanted to be staked. This uncommon tree grows in a windy valley simply seven blocks from the Pacific Ocean and blew over in one of many winter storms when it was about eight years outdated. A couple of days later, it was uprighted, and a big lodge pole stake was added.  

It has a little bit of a lean, but it surely’s so full it’s laborious to note. This plant may be very resilient, I let you know!


This is likely one of the Pussy Willow options that folks love! These harbingers of spring have giant fuzzy catkins, that are inflorescences of many tiny flowers.

The gray furry “pussies” (no soiled minds right here, please!) are what we love to chop on lengthy branches and put in a vase in spring. The lots of tiny yellow flowers will later emerge from these furry nodes.

Listed here are two causes that your Weeping Pussy Willow is probably not flowering:

1)  Not sufficient solar  OR

2) A late frost strikes after the catkins have began to look and wipes out the flowering.


One 12 months, this plant had a light infestation of scale bugs. We used neem oil to manage it. They’re additionally inclined to aphids and caterpillars. 

Close up of a weeping pussy willow tree with catkins forming.
You may see just a few of the catkins rising right here.

Essential Issues To Know

1)  This plant is grafted. I present the graft within the video beneath and the photograph with the arrow.

A Weeping Pussy Willow is grafted on high of an everyday Pussy Willow trunk to get the tree kind. So, by no means reduce off beneath the graft as a result of the plant will revert to the bush kind.

2) The Weeping Pussy Willow is a deciduous tree, so don’t fear when it begins to lose its pointy leaves.

3) If you’d like your PW to develop taller, depart a number of the new shoots rising on the high. 

Pussy Willow Care FAQS

Can I develop weeping pussy willows in containers, and in that case, what are the particular care necessities for container-grown specimens?

Sure, you’ll be able to. Because the plant ages, it’ll want a big container (with drainage holes) to accommodate the basis ball measurement. Pussy Willows like wealthy soil, so remember to amend with compost. They want a sunny location and naturally develop in moist areas, so don’t let yours fully dry out. 

What’s the lifespan of a weeping pussy willow, and are there any particular issues for long-term care and upkeep?

I truthfully don’t know the way lengthy they finally dwell. This one was planted in 2001; I final noticed it in 2019, and it regarded good. You wish to be certain that it’s getting the sunshine and water it wants. Most want staking, particularly when establishing. Relying on the look you’re going for, you’ll be able to let it grow to be a full blob; you’ll have to do some pruning.

Can I develop different vegetation or flowers beneath the cover of a weeping pussy willow, and are there any companion vegetation that profit or complement its progress?

I’d keep away from it. This decorative tree grows densely, and the roots might be invasive. Moreover, the vegetation beneath could be shaded out. I planted a Sprengeri Fern (one other toughie) about 3′ from the trunk of this plant, and it scampered throughout it.

Is it advisable to make use of any particular kinds of natural mulch across the base of a weeping pussy willow, and the way typically ought to mulching be renewed?

It might definitely respect that. We utilized a 3″ layer of mulch (domestically produced) in late winter/early spring each different 12 months. This one was rising in a local weather with dry summers, so the mulch helped maintain the soil moisture in. 

Weeping Pussy Willow Video Information:

Conclusion: Weeping Pussy Willow timber are simple as pie when you don’t thoughts doing a little pruning from time to time. They want an excellent quantity of solar, common watering, and to be staked when younger. Warning: this small decorative tree might steal the present in your backyard!

Blissful Gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

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