Nishiki Willow

A Helpful Guide to Buying and Growing Nishiki Willow


The Nishiki Willow is actually a type of shrub that grows to six feet tall although some have grown upwards of 15 feet.  One of the benefits to this particular plant is its hardiness, being able to grow and thrive in zones ranging from 4a to 9b.  Regardless, the shrub needs full sunlight, regular water without overwatering, and soil with pH levels that range from 5.6, which is very acidic to 7.8, which is mildly alkaline.

When cared for properly, the Nishiki Willow produces beautiful foliage and blooms that appear in late winter, early spring, and mid-spring.  Propagation methods for this shrub are varied to include simple layering, semi-hardwood cuttings, and softwood cuttings.  Keep in mind that because of the height and width, it is important to plant the Nishiki Willow at least six feet from another plant.

If you are looking for a gorgeous plant, one that would make you the envy of the entire neighborhood, the Nishiki Willow is a perfect choice.  The formal name of this shrub is Hakuro-Nishiki, which is just one of more than 300 species of shrubs found in the willow family but definitely one worth buying.  Considered a dwarf variety, this shrub produces delicate catkins that have a yellowish color.

Even the foliage of the Nishiki Willow is amazing, which is deciduous and in the spring, it has a pink color that eventually turns to a variegated off white and green.  The oblong leaves are about four inches long and sometime in October, they begin to drop off.  Then in the wintertime, the stems of the Hishiki Willow are a vibrant red.  To promote even more colorful foliage, as well as new growth, it is important to prune this shrub.  Interestingly, if this willow is grown in zones 4 through 5, rather than the stems being red, they are a gorgeous coral red.

For pruning of the Hishiki Willow, you need to remove any roots or shoots off the trunk quickly.  If not, they would take over and actually start to choke out the grafted top.  Then in late winter, the grafted part of the tree top also needs to be pruned, prior to new growth developing.  With pruning, you can actually help shape this type of shrub into a preferred form.

The Hishiki Willow also needs fertile, well-drained soil that is kept moist.  Another benefit to growing this particular shrub is its tolerance to different soil, even soil with clay and sand.  To promote a healthy plant, it is important that you never overwater and in fact, allow the soil to dry out in between watering.  During the first year of growth, deep water is imperative to establish a solid root system.

As mentioned, the Hishiki Willow loves direct sunlight although this shrub also grows well in partial sun and partial shade.  However, if you want to most vibrant colors possible this shrub needs full sunlight.  The only thing to remember is that the willow has difficulty when exposed to long periods of heat.  Therefore, if you live in a hot climate, it might be worth sacrificing a small amount of color for planning the shrub in an area of sun and shade.

Another consideration when growing the Hishiki Willow is that it is susceptible to a variety of diseases such as rust, willow scab, powdery mildew, blight, root rot, cankers, fungus, and others.  Insects also prove to be a challenge, especially aphids, beetles, lace bugs, scale, borers, and caterpillars.  If you find that your Hishiki Willow has been affected by disease or insects, any of the affected branches need to be cut off.  Even then, it may be necessary to use organic products to bring things under control.



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