Plant of the Month for December 2015

Salix reticulata growing in the wilds of northern Newfoundland.
Salix reticulata

Description and General Information:

The net-veined willow is native to the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere as well as high elevations of European mountains and Canadian Rockies. It is a prostrate species forming mats of deep-green, glossy, almost plastic-like foliage.  The leaves are distinctively veined and round to oval in outline.  Leaf size is variable from 1.5 to 4.5 cm in diameter. The petioles are often dark red.

Like all willows, plants are either male or female.  Both produce 1 to 3 centimeter long catkins in late May through early July.  Male catkins become yellow as they release pollen while female catkins remain purple-green.

Cultivation:

This willow requires full sun and a well-drained but not too dry a site. In the wild, they prefer limestone substrates but it is not confined to it.  In warmer regions, protection from mid-day sun might be advised. Winter hardiness is not a problem as they are native to Arctic regions.  The main limiting factor is summer temperatures.  They are not fond of extended periods above 25 C.

Blooming Period:

Late May through early July in the wild but as early as April in warmer climates.

Propagation:

Cuttings or seed

Seed:

Seed are very short-lived and must be sown within a couple of weeks of being shed.  If fresh seed can be obtained, they may be surface-sown and will freely germinate within a couple of weeks.

Division:

No practiced.

Cuttings:

Softwood cuttings of current-season growth may be taken in early-mid summer.  Keep moist, shaded and relatively cool.  They generally root within a few weeks.

 

 

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