Several weeks ago I wrote a post about one of my favorite shrubs, the Japanese Dappled Willow 'Hakuro Nishiki' (Salix integra). It's a fast growing variegated willow that works well as a privacy screen and is hardy in zones 4-9. It's deciduous so it will be bare over the winter but the new growth in the spring time is fun to look at. It pops out with reddish tints on the tips of the leaves that eventually fade to a white and green "dappled" coloration.
I have a row of these plants along one side of our property. I didn't buy a single one. They all came from cuttings of this dappled willow in the picture above. My in-laws bought a few of these several years ago and this one at the edge of their patio has really enjoyed its location. With an occasional pruning they can be kept in check. What is really cool and really easy to do is to sprout new plants from cuttings. Just take a piece 8 inches long or so and put it in water. A week or so later you will have a new plant. Alternatively you could put the cutting into dirt either in a pot or in the ground and keep it wet and it should do the same thing. Like other willows their branches have a high level of auxins and one to two inch cuttings of branches can be used as a substitute for rooting hormone. Just brew a tea with the clippings by putting a bucket of water filled with little cuttings to steep overnight and you can use the water to stimulate root growth.
Although I haven't done this yet these willows can be trained into a topiary form as well as into a weeping tree. You just have to be creative with the pruning! I hope to attempt both of these projects in the future as soon as I have time...I say that a lot.
A few of my plants may have come from this willow which is planted near the other one in the first picture. If you're looking for a fast growing ornamental shrub with the potential to become a great privacy screen think willow, Japanese dappled willow.
For more information on plant propagation take a look at this post: Propagating Plants for your Landscape.
Labels: plant propagation, shrubs