Salix purpurea 'Nancy Saunders'
Nancy Saunders Purple Willow, Nancy Saunders Basket Willow
- Main interest:
- very attractive vivid red stems in spring and summer, shiny red twigs in winter, 4 to 5 ft long stems, thin rods, fine basketry, black-grey catkins
- full sun to partial shade
- Soil humidity:
- moist to wet soil
- Flower colour:
- black turning grey then pink and finally yellow
- Flowering period:
- grey green
- USDA Hardiness:
- zone 3a: -40 °C (-40 °F) View Zone Map
- Mature height & width (max.):
- height: 8 ft (2.4 m) width: 5 ft (1.5 m)
- screens, hedges, fedges, bank stabilization, pond or creek side, flower arrangements, living willow structures, cut stems, small gardens
Salix purpurea 'Nancy Saunders' is a multipurpose and outstanding basketry willow. Maybe the best for fine basketry! An elegant, smaller male willow, with delicate narrow blue-green leaves, on slender, shiny red stems. Stem and leaf colour deepens in autumn, with leaves finally turning yellow. Small (1”) silvery catkins cover the shrub in early spring. They start black-grey, and turn pink and yellow with abundant pollen. Attracts bees like crazy!
Will grow in full sun to partial shade. The greater the sun exposure, the brighter and more colourful the stems. Left unpruned, Nancy Saunders produce lots of twiggy, colorful growth and smaller leaves. If unpruned the shrub can reach 6 to 12 feet tall. Coppice every couple of years to keep the shrub compact, and develop good stems for fine basketry. When coppiced it produces 4 to 5 ft long straight stems, with long narrow leaves. Or, leave every couple of years to develop more catkins. Can be used in small gardens if pruned right after flowering in early spring. Stems are a lovely dark brown to grey-green when dried for basketry.
Also known as: Purple Osier Willow, Purpleosier Willow, Violet Willow