HOW TO CARE FOR SALIX CAPREA ‘PENDULA’ (WEEPING PUSSY WILLOW)

The Salix Caprea ‘Pendula’ is commonly known as the Goat Willow or Weeping Pussy Willow, which belongs to the Caprea genus of flowering trees. The Weeping Pussy Willow trees bloom early and produce beautiful and silky catkins (fuzzy flowers that give a touch like a cat’s fur). They are small in size, produce beautiful flowers and also, they are easy to grow, these qualities make them perfect for both indoor decorations and outdoor landscapes and gardens.

The Weeping Pussy Willow trees grow pendulous branches and can reach up to 8 feet, while the spread of the tree can also be around 6 feet. But most of the Weeping Pussy Willow trees varieties that are grown indoors do not reach this height. Only the trees that are grown in very optimal conditions for their growth reach this much height. The leaves of the Weeping Pussy Willow trees are dark green and are broader than most of the other varieties of the Willows. They are narrow at the end and broad in the middle, while the end of the leaf is pointy. 

The leaves do not have any edges, and their sides are very smooth in texture. The flowers of the Weeping Pussy Willow trees are small, silvery, and have a very silky touch. The reason behind their name pussy refers to the fact that these flowers give a touch like the fuzzy fur of the cats. There are two types of these flowers, male and female. Only one type of flower grows on one tree, they will either be male-only or female-only flowers.

The Weeping Pussy Willow stem is weak and is heavily branched. These branches hang from the stem like a pendulum. The leaves are arranged in an opposite formation of these branches. During the winter, leaves drop if there is extreme cold and return during the spring. The branches are all covered with the flowers during the blooming season. 

Growing Conditions and Requirements

The Weeping Pussy Willow tree likes to be planted in the full sun to partial shade. If it is possible then tree them in a way that they only get the sunlight during the morning and evening, while they are under the shade at noon.

It is better to grow them in a well-draining soil as their delicate roots need protection from the rotting. You can grow them in both indoors and outdoors environments. More frequent watering during the summer and less frequent watering during the winter will help the tree properly grow.

Feed the required fertilizers to your tree, this will help them grow faster and thrive. Proper pruning and on time repotting will also help your tree properly grow and thrive. Keep monitoring your tree pests and other problems, and try to prevent them and control them.

Below are the details about the growing conditions and requirements:

Water Requirements

Weeping Pussy Willow trees need regular watering to grow. They like the moisture in the soil, but if the soil is kept wet all the time, the roots of the Weeping Pussy Willow trees can rot. That is why you need to be careful about watering the Weeping Pussy Willow trees. Do not give them so much water that the soil remains wet all the time and do not create drought conditions either.

The watering of Weeping Pussy Willow trees depends on many factors including the size and age of the tree, seasons and climate, area and temperature, etc. below are the wagering requirements according to these factors.

How to Water?

●     Watering starts from the day you have planted them, as the trees are very small or they just sprouted from the seeds, they need a small amount of water and a little moisture in the soil enough for them. So, provide them only a small amount of water on either a daily basis or every second day. Keep following this pattern for almost two months.

●     After the two months, you can slightly increase the amount of water you were providing to your trees. Two months are enough for their roots to settle in the soil and start extracting water from it. At this age of the tree, you can provide them enough water that keeps the soil moist for almost a day. Water your trees every second or third day, at this age. Keep following this pattern for almost the next 3 months.

●     Once the tree reaches 5 to 6 months of age, they gain a slight height and their roots also settle deeper in the soil. This makes it easier for them to extract water from the moist soil. At this age, you can gradually increase the amount of water to your trees and decrease the frequency of watering to once every fourth day. Keep following this pattern unless the weather is cold.

●     Once the tree has gained a height of 1 foot, you can further increase the amount of water and decrease the frequency to every fifth or sixth day. Once the tree is at this height, it can handle the dry conditions for almost a week, so less watering will not affect the tree that much. When watering a tree of this size, make sure that you give it enough water that reaches the bottom soil in the planter.

●     In winter and cold areas, less frequent watering is good for them but in the hot and dry areas and summer, more frequent watering is required otherwise the tree will face drought, this reduces the growth rate of the tree and in some severe cases can lead the tree to death.

Lighting Requirements

Weeping Pussy Willow trees need a bright environment but also need some protection when the day is very hot and light is extreme. They like to be grown in full sun to partial shade. If it is possible, keep them in a way that they only receive light during the morning and evening while they are under the shade when the sun is hot.

If you are looking forward to growing them outdoors, they will become hardy, but if you have planted them indoors and want to move them outdoors, the light will burn their leaves so you might need to provide shade. They cannot grow very well if they are not receiving the proper light, so in the indoor environment, provide them enough light.

Temperature Requirements

Weeping Pussy Willow trees are cold hardy and frost hardy trees. They mostly grow very well in the Northern regions of the United States and Canada where temperatures remain very low almost all year long. They are hardy in the USDA zones between 4 to 8. They can also be grown in slightly warmer areas as well.

But if you are looking forward to growing them in extremely hot areas where temperature can cross the 30 C, they will need extra protection. In extremely hot areas, you can keep them indoors to protect them from the hotness. If there is a lot of snow in your region, you will have to keep them indoors as well to protect them from the frost.

Soil Requirements

You can grow the Weeping Pussy Willow trees in different types of soil including the loamy, sandy, and clay. All they need is the soil must be porous and well-draining and allow the excess water to quickly move out of the tree pot.

The soil can also be acidic, neutral, or alkaline. The soil must contain all the nutrients that are required by the tree. You can also add some fertilizer into the potting soil. The mixture of the cocopeat, pumice, perlite, pebbles, sandy, compost, and mulch can be used to grow them.

You can create layers of these elements or mix them and put them in the tree pot. Try to water the soil and see if the soil allows the drainage of excess water or not. Make sure that the soil does not contain any pathogens, harmful bacteria, fungus spores, etc.

Fertilizer Requirements

\Weeping Pussy Willow trees need a constant supply of nutrients and you can provide these in terms of fertilizers.  This helps Weeping Pussy Willow trees to properly grow and thrive. The nutrients that are already a part of the soil, are quickly consumed by the tree for its growth and once it happens the tree depends upon you for the proper and regular supply of nutrients.

There are a lot of types of fertilizers that are used for the Weeping Pussy Willow trees depending upon the deficiency of nutrients in the soil. You can conduct a soil test to know about the soil’s nutrients deficiency. This will help you use the fertilizers more effectively. Otherwise, you will have to try all the fertilizer and see which one is working for your tree.

How to use fertilizers:

●     As you know that there are different types of fertilizers, and every fertilizer is used differently on different trees. The proper way to use the fertilizer is mostly provided with the fertilizer bag. You can read the instructions and use them accordingly.

●     Most of the fertilizers have two types of recommended methods about their use, below are the details about these methods, the first method involves spreading the fertilizer around the soil and watering the tree. This method is also used to mix the fertilizers in the soil before the plantation or sowing the seeds.

●     The second recommended method involves fertilizing the trees with the help of liquid fertilizer. You need to create a mixture of required tree fertilizer and water and then feed this mixture to your trees regularly. Providing fertilizer to your Weeping Pussy Willow trees once every 20 days is enough for them to thrive.

Precautions: Use the fertilizers according to the recommended methods only. Follow all the guidelines related to the use. Do not overfeed the fertilizer to your tree as it can seriously damage the roots of the tree.

Pruning Requirements

With time, Weeping Pussy Willow trees grow bigger and start covering more and more space. If you do not prune them regularly, they will grow out of shape, and in some cases, they even look like an unwanted shrub. So, pruning them will keep them in good shape and will also encourage the more growth of the tree in a regulated manner. The pruning should be done after the spring. You can start by pruning out all the dead flowers.

Then you can prune the leaves and out of shape branches. After trimming these, you can look for any diseased parts and remove them as well. After pruning them, you can give them any required shape, most of the experts advise a round pendulum shape for them. After finishing the pruning, you must provide them with some water and fertilizer, this will help the tree grow new leaves and branches, and will encourage the growth and health of the tree.

Repotting Requirements

Repotting the Weeping Pussy Willow is important, as they are very small in their early age and are planted in very small containers but as they age and grow, they become bigger and bigger and they need to be repotted from their small containers into the bigger ones, otherwise, their growth will stop as their roots will not be able to expand.

The best season for repotting is the early day’s summer. You need to prepare a bigger container, potting soil, water, and some fertilizer. Mix the potting soil and the fertilizer and fill them into the container by half.

After that, uproot the tree and carefully replant it into the new pot you prepared. After putting the tree into a new pot, you need to further add the soil to fill the pot. After completing the repotting, you need to give some water to your tree, this water will help the roots of your tree adjust to the new soil and get water and fertilizer.

Be careful when uprooting and replanting them, try not to damage any roots of the Weeping Pussy Willow trees, the broken roots can cause many problems including the rotting.

Problems and Pests:

Weeping Pussy Willow trees face different kinds of pests and problems. To control the pest attacks you can use the proper chemical sprays. To control problems such as root rot and leaf color change, you need to change the tree’s watering schedule and light arrangements. You can also increase the amount of fertilizer if the leaves are turning yellow.

How to Propagate?

The Weeping Pussy Willow trees can easily be propagated with the help of cuttings from their stem. They even do not require a rooting medium to propagate, all you need is to take cuttings from a matured tree and then simply tree them into moist soil.

Keep watering the cuttings and do not let the soil dry, in a few days, you will see that the cuttings will start growing the roots and new leaves will also start to appear. Keep watering them regularly and protect them from grazing and animals.

Growing them from seeds:

Weeping Pussy Willow trees also grow small seeds. These seeds are formed once the male tree and female tree pollinate. All you need is to take the seeds and then place them in the required potting soil, give them some water and cover the pot with a plastic sheet. Wait for them to sprout and produce seedlings. The seeds might take a few to sprout so you will have to wait a little bit.

Frequently Asked Question:

Question: How to prune small Weeping Pussy Willow?

Answer: Pruning of the small or dwarf-sized Weeping Pussy Willow tree helps it to grow faster and encourages the growth of new leaves and branches. It is done mostly after the spring. When the flowers are fading away, you can start by removing the flowers that are dead, and then leaves irregular branches. You can also cut off the parts of the tree if they are facing any type of attack from the pathogen. After pruning, provide your tree some water and keep them in a bright environment.

Question: What is the scientific name of Weeping Pussy Willow?

Answer: The scientific name of the Weeping Pussy Willow tree is Salix Caprea ‘Pendula’. The name pendula refer to their pendulum-like branches. They are a member of the Caprea genus of flowering trees.

Question: How to care for Miniature Weeping Pussy Willow?

Answer: The Miniature/Dwarf Weeping Pussy Willow tree needs a little extra care. The tree needs well-draining soil, full sun to partial shade environment, slightly cold temperatures and regular watering. You can also add fertilizer to boost the growth of your tree. Keep looking for any signs of pest attack and take appropriate actions if any pathogen attacks the tree.