Corkscrew willow in a pot

brookiejunk(8)April 10, 2008

I just ordered a corkscrew willow that I was planning on putting in a large pot and leaving it there. I was hoping it would stay small. Then I read somewhere that there are also dwarf corkscrew willows. Do you think a regular size one will survive in a large pot. Also any special instructions on how to keep it alive will help. Thanks

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Don't turn your back on it, it will overtake your children and pets ;o) . . . . . . . and you can grow about any tree in a pot you've a mind to.

The Salix genus is full of plants with rather amazing vigor, so you'll be pressed hard to keep it small w/o some considerable pruning skills and the will to do what needs to be done. You'll need to prune the plant hard, annually, both above and below the soil line to keep it in bounds.

Nothing special about it's soil requirements, it should do well in any old potting soil, but a well-aerated soil will be best. You'll completely change the soil each early spring though, if you want it to remain in peak health. The plant is a heavy feeder, but you can help keep it compact by feeding a 3:1:2 or a 2:1:2 ratio fertilizer (this is the RATIO - not the blend, so if you don't understand this - please ask).

The plant will better resist the various diseases and insects it's susceptible to if you are able to keep vitality high.

Al

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:33AM
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calistoga_al

If your pot is sitting on the ground, by this fall it should be impossible to move as the roots go through the drain holes into the soil. Al

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 9:46AM
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wood_fern

You might be interested in a 6-page article in current Garden Ideas magazine (spring 08). All about using shrubs and small trees in containers. How to train, soils to use, what annuals and perennials work well with shrubs/trees in containers, etc. How to choose containers to match shrub/tree shapes. Doesn't cover your willow specifically but lots of good general info.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 10:49AM
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brookiejunk(8)

thanks everyone. I got the tree and the pot and the dirt ready, i'm just a bit nervous about putting it in. The pot doesn't have drain holes. Would it be a really bad idea to leave it that way and just water it once a week in the summer? Instead of every day or so like I usually would.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 11:35AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Yes - a very bad idea. Even though most willows will grow in standing water, they'll fare poorly in stagnant water. You really need a drain hole & a soil that won't turn to muck. Top soil or garden soil is inappropriate, btw.

Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 12:18PM
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brookiejunk(8)

The soil I bought is miracle grow potting soil. What do you think of that. Or is that what you just warned me of? Thanks

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 1:20PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You should be ok if you're careful not to over-water. Moist is good - saturated is not.

Al

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 2:30PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

You need drain holes so that you can see the willow roots growing out
the bottom and know it's time to root-prune or re-pot! ;)

I have a few willows in containers and they are vigorous!

Josh

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 2:33PM
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philipw2(7 MD/DC)

I have a stand of corkscrew willow that I grow in the soil in my yard---far away from the sewer & water thank you. I cut them back hard every spring (to 4 to 6 feet) and so have kept them as vigorous bushes for years.

I don't do a crew cut but rather harvest the stems for interior decoration. That way the plant never gets large as each branch is harvested after 1-3 years. But also it is never naked. (Important for a container plant.)

BTW while willows are thought of as water loving, I grow these in a very dry somewhat shady area under a ornamental cherry, which also probably contributes to the slower growth. In sum, treat your tree poorly and it may stay within bounds.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 2:27PM
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