Your Perfect Guide to Caring for Willow Wands

Willow trees are known for their strength and resilience, and the Willow Wand is no exception. Made from 9 whips of willow branches, this magical plant will grow its stunning topiary crown within 6 weeks of being planted, becoming a beautiful feature in your garden with minimal care required throughout the year.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the necessary steps to ensure your Willow Wand grows happily and healthily in every season.

How to Care for your Willow Wand

Willow Wand Planting

Upon receiving your Willow Wand, it is crucial to plant it immediately. Firmly place it into the soil and water it well, especially during hot weather. If you are unable to plant it right away, you can keep it in 10cm of water in a sheltered outdoor location, away from direct sunlight, for a maximum of 3 days. However, make sure to plant it before the roots reach a length of 2cm.

Important: Do not let your Willow Wand dry out before planting, especially during hot summer days. Keep it cool and moist until it is planted.

Each wand comes with a plastic tie at the bottom, which should be left on until the main stem has fully grafted. Removing the tie will cause the wand to unfurl and lose its carefully woven effect. Don’t worry about the tie strangling the tree; willows are strong and can even grow and graft around it.

Willow Wands are fully hardy outdoor plants and should not be brought inside at any time of the year. Find a location in your garden that receives partial shade to full sun, and your Willow Wand will thrive year-round, even in winter.

The wand can tolerate severe frost, but it should never be left to dry out. Monitor the soil moisture throughout the year, especially during sunny periods and colder winds. Container-grown plants dry out more quickly, so placing them in a saucer will help keep them moist.

During hot weather, water your Willow Wand daily. Overwatering is rarely an issue, as willow grows well in moist soil.

Garden Planted Wands

Your Willow Wand can be planted in the ground or in a pot using normal garden soil. Plant the base of the wand around 15cm deep into the soil (slightly deeper for larger wands), and firm the soil down to prevent wind rock. Water the wand well immediately after planting.

For the first few weeks after planting, make sure the soil remains moist. This may require daily watering, unless there is heavy rainfall. After the initial 3-4 weeks, water only when needed based on weather conditions. It is crucial to keep the soil around the base of the stem moist during the first season.

From the second season onwards, your wand will become established and will only need watering during dry summers. However, be mindful not to let it dry out completely.

When planting, ensure that the wand is at least 1 meter away from walls to allow sufficient light and rain to reach the soil.

Container Planted Wands

Willow Wands look stunning when planted in pots and containers, especially when arranged 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 retain moisture after planting. Firm down the compost and water the wand well.

Keep the compost consistently moist after planting and place a saucer underneath the pot to aid water retention. Ensure that the saucer always contains water.

After 2-3 months of planting, you can start feeding your Willow Wand with a multi-purpose feed once it has an established root system.

Willow Wand Growth

As your Willow Wand starts to grow, you may notice buds developing along the length of the stem and around the top of the plant above the decorative collar.

Leave the buds developing above the collar at the top of the plant to fill out the topiary crown over time. However, remove the buds below the decorative collar on the main stem by gently rubbing them off. This will help maintain the woven effect of the stem.

Ensure that at least one or two buds develop from the top of each individual stem. If no buds develop above the collar, allow at least one to develop just below the collar to ensure the viability of each stem until they are all grafted together. Trim the top crown of branches at least twice within the first season.

For a denser topiary crown, trim the new growth 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 reach a length of 15-20cm.

It is essential to prune the crown at least once per season, making sure not to cut into the main rods that make up the main stem.

If your wand is exposed to high winds and harsh weather conditions, trim the crown more often during the first few seasons until the main stem is fully grafted. This will help strengthen your wand. Trim the wand for the last time before winter in mid-August. Trimming too late in the season can encourage fresh growth that may experience dieback in harsh weather.

Trim your wand again in early spring just before the bud burst to encourage lots of side shoots and new growth for the growing season.

Following Seasons

Your wand will maintain the same height from the day it is received and will not grow any taller. Over time, the grafted trunk will gradually increase in diameter and take on the beautiful aged color of the willow tree, while still retaining its stunning woven effect.

You should start seeing signs of growth approximately 6 weeks after planting, depending on the season.

Pests and Diseases

The willow variety used to make the wands has been carefully selected for its resistance to pests and diseases, so you shouldn’t encounter any major issues.

During spring, when your willow wand produces soft, fresh growth, keep an eye out for aphids and treat them as needed. Aphids often appear around the tips of new stems and leaf buds. Pinching the new growth not only promotes bushier growth but can also help remove aphids. If necessary, you can create a diluted solution of washing up liquid and spray it onto the affected areas.

Watch out for caterpillars, as they can quickly damage new summer growth. You can manually pick them off the plant or use a pyrethrum spray.

If you notice bright red blisters on the leaves, they are caused by blister mites. Pinch the blisters or remove the affected leaves.

As mentioned earlier, our Willow Wands are selected for their resistance to disease and pests. If you encounter any of the aforementioned issues, following the suggested precautions will ensure the long-term health of your tree.

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, it may contain this gel.

Please dispose of the bag and gel responsibly and wash your hands thoroughly after planting. While completely harmless, the gel may cause minor skin irritation in some people.

With this comprehensive care guide, you now have all the information you need to ensure your Willow Wand thrives and remains a stunning addition to your garden throughout the year. Enjoy the beauty and magic that this incredible plant brings to your outdoor space!