• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys' (m)

black willow

AGM plants

AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:

  • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
  • Available to buy
  • Of good constitution
  • Essentially stable in form & colour
  • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases
black willow

© RHS

  • Other common names black willow

  • Family Salicaceae

  • Genus Salix are deciduous shrubs and trees of diverse habit, with simple leaves and tiny flowers in catkins, male and female usually on separate plants. Some are valued for their brightly coloured winter shoots, others for their foliage or showy male catkins

  • Details 'Melanostachys' is a bushy shrub to 3m tall, with oval, glossy leaves that are grey-hairy when young; showy black catkins open in early spring and have orange-red anthers that turn yellow as they mature

Characteristics

  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Bushy

  • Hardiness

    Hardiness ratings

    All ratings refer to the UK growing conditions unless otherwise stated. Minimum temperature ranges (in degrees C) are shown in brackets

    • H1a - Under glass all year (>15C)
    • H1b - Can be grown outside in the summer (10 - 15)
    • H1c - Can be grown outside in the summer (5 - 10)
    • H2 - Tolerant of low temperatures, but not surviving being frozen (1 to 5)
    • H3 - Hardy in coastal and relatively mild parts of the UK (-5 to 1)
    • H4 - Hardy through most of the UK (-10 to -5)
    • H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10)
    • H6 - Hardy in all of UK and northern Europe (-20 to -15)
    • H7 - Hardy in the severest European continental climates (< -20)

    H5

Colour

Sunlight

  • Full Sun

  • Aspect South-facing or West-facing

  • Exposure Exposed or Sheltered

Soil

  • Sand

    Sand

  • Clay

    Clay

  • Loam

    Loam

  • MoistureMoist but well-drained

  • SoilSand, Clay, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral

Size

  • Ultimate height 2.5-4 metres

  • Ultimate spread 2.5-4 metres

  • Time to ultimate height 5-10 years

How to grow

Cultivation Grow in any deep, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Avoid shallow chalk soil

Propagation Root softwood cuttings in early summer or hardwood cuttings in winter

Suggested planting locations and garden types Flower borders and beds City & Courtyard Gardens Coastal Cottage & Informal Garden

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 7, every 1-3 years in March for coloured winter shoots

Pests Aphids, caterpillars, leaf beetles, sawflies, willow scale may problematic

Diseases Willow anthracnose, honey fungus and rust are possible problems

Advertise here

Did you find the information you were looking for?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now