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Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys' (m)
  • RHS AGM

black willow

'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

Synonyms
Salix 'Melanostachys'
Salix 'Kuro-me'
see moreSalix 'Kurome'
Salix 'Kuroyanagi'
Salix 'Kureneko'
Salix melanostachys
Salix kuru-yanagi
Salix gracilistyla var. melanostachys

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Size
Ultimate height
2.5–4 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
2.5–4 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Black Red Yellow Green
Summer Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Salicaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
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

Name status

Accepted

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
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
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

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