Willow trees are strong and resilient and the Willow Wand is made from 9 whips of it’s branches. Once your Willow Wand is planted it will magically grow it’s topiary crown within 6 weeks (depending on the season) and will remain a feature in the garden with minimal care throughout the year.
Keep reading our Willow Wand Care Guide to ensure your plant grows happily and healthily through each season.
How to Care for your Willow Wand
Willow Wand Planting
Plant your Willow Wand immediately upon receipt, firming into the soil and watering well (especially in hot weather).
If you can’t plant straight away, place it in 10cm of water and put in a sheltered, outdoor location in the shade if it’s sunny. Your wand can stay like this for a maximum of 3 days and it must be planted before the roots reach a length of 2cm.
Important - It is essential that you do not let your Willow Wand dry out before planting. If the weather is particularly hot in the summer make sure to keep the wand cool and moist right up until planting.
There is a plastic tie on the bottom of each wand, this must be left on until you are sure that the main stem has grafted completely. If this is removed then the wand will unfurl and you will lose the careful woven effect of the stem. No need to worry about the tie strangling the tree, willows are strong and it is common for the plant to even grow and graft around it.
Willow Wands are fully hardy, outdoor plants that should not be brought inside at any time of the year. Place in a location of the garden that receives partial shade to full sun and it will thrive all year round, even in the winter.
The wand can withstand severe frost but it must not be left to dry out at any point, this goes for during summer and winter too. Keep an eye on the soil moisture year round, especially during periods of sun and colder winds. Container grown plants dry out much quicker than planted ones so placing these in a saucer will ensure that they remain moist.
Water your Willow Wand daily during hot weather, as willow grows well in moist soil over watering is rarely an issue.
Garden Planted Wands
Your Willow Wand can be planted into a pot or into the ground in normal garden soil. Plant the base of the wand around 15cm deep into the soil (slightly deeper for the large sized wands) firm the soil down to avoid wind rock. Water well straight after planting.
Ensure the soil stays moist for the first few weeks after planting, this can mean watering every day unless there is a heavy rainfall. After the first 3-4 weeks, only water when needed based on weather conditions. It’s highly important that the soil is moist around the base of the stem for the first season.
Your Wand will become established from the second season onwards and should only need watering during summer when it’s very dry. Still be cautious that it doesn’t dry out.
When planting, keep the wand a minimum of 1 metre away from walls to allow for enough light and rain to reach the soil.
Container Planted Wands
Willow Wands look great in pots and containers, especially when planted in pairs or trios. Follow the same steps as above using compost in the pot. Adding a bit of loam based compost to the mixture will help it to retain moisture after planting. Firm down and water well.
Keep the compost moist at all times after planting, add a saucer underneath the pot to help with water retention. Make sure the saucer is always holding water.
2-3 months after planting you can start feeding with a multi-purpose feed when your Willow Wand has an established root system.
Willow Wand Growth
As your wand starts to grow, you may notice some buds developing down the main length of the stem as well as around the top of the plant above the decorative collar.
The buds developing above the collar at the top of the plant should be left to develop and grow which will fill out the topiary crown over time. The buds below the decorative collar on the main stem should be removed and can simply be rubbed off. This will help to maintain the woven effect of the stem.
Make sure that there is at least one or two buds developing from the top of each individual stem. If no buds develop above the collar then allow as least one to develop from just below the collar to ensure viability of each stem until all are grafted together. Trim the top crown of branches at least twice within the first season.
If you want a denser topiary crown, trim the new growth back by about half every couple of weeks throughout the season - this can be done up to 4 times in the first year and will encourage more side shoots as the crown fills in.
For a less dense crown, simply prune the tips of the new growth once they are 15-20cm in length.
It’s essential to prune the crown at least once per season and make sire never to cut into the main rods making up the main stem.
If your wand is planted in an area where it will be exposed to high winds and harsh weather conditions, trim the crown more often for the first few seasons until the main stem is grafted. This will allow for your wand to strengthen. In mid-august, trim the wand for the last time before the winter. Trimming too late in the season encourages fresh growth to sprout later in the year which may experience die back in harsh weather.
Trim again in early spring just before the bud burst to encourage lots of side shoots and new growth for the growing season.
Your wand will remain the same height from the date it is received and never get any taller. Over time, the grafted trunk will slowly increase in diameter and will start to take on the beautiful aged colour of the willow tree while still maintaining the stunning woven effect.
Depending on the season, you should notice signs of growth from 6 weeks from planting.
Pests and Diseases
The willow variety chosen to make the wands has been specially selected to have a good resistance to more pests and diseases so this shouldn't cause you any issues.
In the spring while your willow wand is putting out lots of soft fresh growth, keep an eye out for aphids and treat as needed. They will most likely appear around the new stems tips and on leaf buds.
Pinching the new growth not only encourages more bushy growth but can also be great at removing aphids that may be there. If this isn’t enough you can make a diluted solution of washing up liquid to spray onto the affected areas.
Also keep an eye out for caterpillars as they can make light work of new summer growth. Caterpillars can be picked from the plant or a pyrethrum spray used.
If you notice bright red blisters on the leaves, these are caused by blister mite. Treat this by pinching the blister or picking the affected leaf off.
Like stated above, our Willow Wands are selected for their good disease and pest resistance. If any of the above issues are found this is highly unlikely to affect the overall long term health of the tree if the suggestions provided are followed.
Summer dispatch of Willow Wands
During hot weather our Willow Wands are dispatched with a polymer gel around the base to keep them hydrated. If your Willow Wand arrives with a bag around the bottom then this may contain this gel.
Please dispose of the bag and gel responsibly and wash hands thoroughly after planting. Whilst completely harmless it may cause some minor skin irritation in some people.