Basket Willow Plant Care: Growing Willow Plants For Baskets
The Basket Willows are a popular choice for bakers because they grow well in most climates. They have a long life span and produce large quantities of fruit. They make beautiful hanging baskets, but their branches are very fragile so care must be taken when pruning them or when cutting them back.
They need full sun and moderate moisture. They prefer soil with good drainage. If your area does not get much rainfall, then you may want to plant them in containers instead. A good container for growing willows would be a plastic tub filled with peat moss or vermiculite (a fine sand). You could also try a potting mixture made from perlite, vermiculite and water.
Make sure the mixture is completely saturated before adding the tree roots.
Willow trees do best if they receive plenty of light during the day and shade at night. They like bright sunlight but they do not thrive under direct sunlight all the time. Do not place them too close to windows or other sources of heat. When it gets cold outside, turn off lights in the house and leave your willows out in the garden where they can bask in cool air.
The average room temperature is just fine for willows. In fact, they do better under cooler conditions rather than warmer ones. However, if the air becomes too dry, the leaves will start to wither and turn brown. A humidifier in your house during the winter months can help prevent this problem. Be sure to keep it away from the plant though.
If you notice spots or holes in your leaves, check to see if you have ladybugs living in your willow trees. They are about the size of a small beetle and they love willow trees too. They are useful in getting rid of aphids that may be sucking the life out of your trees.
Willows do not require much pruning except for the occasional dead branches that cross or overlap each other. You can prune them to any shape you desire but remember, the branches are very brittle so you must be very careful when handling them. If you want to make a shape other than the typical cascading look, you will need to support the branches as you prune.
Willows can be grown from seeds but it is very difficult to find them. To propagate your willow, use cuttings or tissue culture. Be sure to match the parent tree as closely as possible when taking cuttings. Select 3-5 inch cuttings from non-flowering stems in the spring. Dip the cut end of the stick into a rooting compound before sticking it into the ground or your container.
Make sure it is stuck into the ground or container at a slant so that water can drain out of the bottom. Water the soil well and keep it moist but not soggy. You can also root willow cuttings in water. This method works best if you want to mass produce large quantities of trees. Take a cutting and dip the bottom inch into a rooting hormone before placing it in a glass of water. Change the water every couple of days. After about six weeks, you should see growth in the cutting. At that time, it can be transplanted into soil or a container.
Growing willows does take some patience because of their slow growth rate but they do provide an interesting addition to any garden. You may want to plant a few cuttings at one time so you will eventually have enough for whatever project you need them for.
May your willows grow long and strong!
Sources & references used in this article:
The basket willow by WF Hubbard – 1904 – books.google.com
Willows in the service of man by KG Stott – Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Section …, 1992 – cambridge.org
The development of short-rotation willow in the northeastern United States for bioenergy and bioproducts, agroforestry and phytoremediation by TA Volk, LP Abrahamson, CA Nowak, LB Smart… – Biomass and …, 2006 – Elsevier
Handmade baskets from nature’s colourful materials by S Vaughan – 2014 – books.google.com
Renewable energy from willow biomass crops: life cycle energy, environmental and economic performance by GA Keoleian, TA Volk – BPTS, 2005 – Taylor & Francis
BASKET WILLOW CULTURE. by KE Pfeiffer – 1919
THE BASKET WILLOW. by NI GKOBGE – naldc.nal.usda.gov