Willow Bonsai. Sweeping beauty…….

willow bonsai

Please enjoy our Willow Bonsai information.

You, as a Bonsai artist, will more than likely come to a crossroads in your bonsai career. A crossroads of selection!

Maybe you have one, two, or five trees? Or maybe none at all?

This makes you a Bonsai artist in waiting!

Whatever the case, you’ve chosen to have a look at Willow Bonsai trees. Good choice…… The appearance of Willow trees has captured the imaginations of many a creative person. Willow trees often spring imagery of lush fields, scary, eerie landscapes and often feature in movies. Tim Burton movies spring to mind…….

In the wild, Willows are often home to a plethora of birdlife, choosing to build homes behind the weeping curtains of the Willow’s foliage.

Unfortunately, if you choose to grow a Willow Bonsai, don’t expect to see many birds trying to nest in it!

Right, silly stuff over……

The Willow Bonsai tree makes for an excellent subject. Willows have amazing aerated root systems that are easy to maintain. They grow thick in the trunk and in the branches and are easy to keep well balanced.

Willows, otherwise known as Salix, grow strongly and are quite tolerant of climatic conditions, including drought.

There are literally hundreds of species of Salix, all of which generally require the same care conditions.

FYI, the most common Bonsai Willow is the Salix babylonica. These are graceful trees, with weeping branches and a mystical appearance.

In regards to styling, Willows are best suited to Formal & Informal Upright and Cascade styles.

Willows are susceptible to pests and disease so be vigilant! Aphids, rust and caterpillars are among the most common. Click here to learn more about pest and disease prevention.

Lets have a look at Willow care!

Soil, Lighting, & Watering

• Use a slightly acidic soil for your Willow Bonsai. Willows enjoy good drainage, so we suggest a soil mix that contains grit. Try using red akadama soil with grit and peat moss. This will give you a soil mix that allows water retention without drowning your Willow.

• Your Willow will appreciate full sunlight, but, like most Bonsai, not the full Summer sun.

• Willows prefer greenhouse protection in Winter as negative temperatures can cause damage.

• Willows are quite a thirsty tree that should never be allowed to dry out. In the wild they often thrive best on riverbanks or swamps where the water table constantly supplies a Willow’s roots with water. Always ensure they are moist and in Summer, it is thought best to sit the Willow’s pot in a shallow tray of water. This will allow the tree to uptake water from the tray when it’s main supply evaporates.


Your Willow will appreciate a low-nitrogen feed once-fortnightly throughout Spring and Summer.


It is thought best to repot your Willow before at the beginning of Spring, prior to bud burst. Any more than this will potentially traumatise the tree into ill health. For information on repotting etc, click here!

Pruning & Wiring

• At the end of Winter, prune your Willow Bonsai heavily. Most Salix grow very quickly and can become quite dense. At the end of Winter, assuming your tree is healthy and disease and pest free, trim back the tree’s growth to one third, maintaining symmetry.

• Be vigilant throughout Spring and constantly pinch new growth as it appears along the branches.

• Wire your Willow at the end of Winter, but remember, not too tight! Wire the branches in a downwards fashion, particularly if the Willow is of a weeping variety. Click here for more information on wiring.

Leave Willow Bonsai Information and head back to Bonsai Trees Guide!