weeping willow

Weeping willow: bonsai

The bonsai is the result of an ancient oriental art which consists in shrinking majestic creatures of the plant kingdom to keep them in small ceramic pots. To carry out such a project, you need to arm yourself with patience and accuracy and in the case of the willow (Salix babylonica, for expert naturalists) also with a significant dose of technical ability. Pruning and repotting are fundamental, but even more so here will be the use of weights, wires and tie rods, which will help the plant to assume the characteristic “weeping” shape: the branches in fact normally assume the position of a fountain due to the weight, which in a bonsai is – as can easily be deduced – irrelevant. The application of braces will therefore be mandatory and the operation will preferably be carried out during the growing season.

Weeping willow: roots

The propagation of the weeping willow occurs by cuttings. This means that you have to cut a fragment of the plant and bury it or place it in a jar with water for the roots to form. In the first case it will be possible to proceed with watering regularly, in the second it will be necessary to bury in pots, in the cases of which we are talking about bonsai or dwarf willow. In the first case, then, painstaking work will be required regarding their arrangement: this type of plant has roots that do not like to be forced, which is why it lives so well outdoors. In the case of bonsai, however, it will be necessary to work on the most voluminous roots, and cut them in order to guarantee more space for the capillaries, more suitable to follow the shape of the pots that will house the tree.

Weeping willow: pruning and watering.

Both “captive” versions of the weeping willow need special care when it comes to pruning. Whether you are in front of the bonsai or the dwarf willow you will need to take action and carry out these interventions to give the plant the desired shape. It is advisable to start shredding at the end of vegetative rest, which corresponds to the beginning of spring: the tools for these operations can be found in the best-stocked gardening shops. Usually these kits include different types of scissors (for leaves, branches and roots) and wire cutters. It will be good to use the previously sterilized tools and help the healing of the cut points with mastic, able to keep animal and plant parasites away and speed up the healing process.

Attractive and enigmatic, the weeping willow exerts a strong fascination on people due to its particular shape and the mystical halo that surrounds it. The fact is that many would like to have one for themselves, but the enormous size, ease of propagation and the large quantities of water it needs make it a plant not suitable for everyone. It is also true that the bonsai version – like all bonsai – is delicate and needs a lot of attention: another point against those who may not have much patience or time. However, there is another possibility: the weeping willowdwarf. Reaching a maximum height of one and a half meters, it is suitable for gardens and large pots; thanks to the elasticity of the roots then that bypass the obstacles, there will be no problems of adaptation and expansion.

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