Shrimp willow: planting cultivation pruning and maintenance

cultivate him Salix integra ‘Hakuro-Nishiki’of the family of Willowis a lovely decorative shrub with a bushy habit that is called the shrimp willow and sometimes Harlequin willow. Il hardly exceeds 3.00 m in height and 2.20 m in wingspan in adulthood. It is very popular for its spectacular deciduous foliage, soft green, white and pastel pink, which brings a bright and very original touch to the garden. In spring, it is covered with inflorescences called catkins. Note that in winter, the stems of the variety Salix integra Flamingo’ turn red. Easy to cultivate because not very demanding, it must however be pruned severely every year. Here is everything you need to know to plant and maintain a Shrimp Willow in the ground or in a pot.

Plant a Shrimp Willow

Ce beautiful ornamental shrub, a cousin of the weeping willow, is planted in the ground, but depending on the variety chosen, it lends itself perfectly to growing in pots. Although it displays a beautiful hardiness since it is able to withstand temperatures of the order of -15°Cit is still preferable to shelter it from the wind and to plant it outside of the frost period.

The best planting time is early fall, as this gives it time to take root well before spring. This is essential to promote the formation of new shoots which then take on the colors that make this decorative shrub so charming.

Pour Plant a Shrimp Willow in the groundit is necessary to start with hydrate the root ball well by immersing it for at least 1 hour in a large container full of water. Then just:

  • Dig a hole twice as large as the root ball,
  • Mix the extracted soil with the same quantity of very mature compost,
  • Position the Shrimp Willow in the center of the planting hole,
  • Reseal,
  • Tamp down,
  • Form a bowl,
  • Water copiously.

If we prefer growing a Shrimp Willow in a containerit is better to choose a trunk-grafted variety whose elegance is undeniable. This is the type of shrub that finds its place on a terrace, by the pool or on a large balcony. Planting in pots can take place in the spring, in good garden soil mixed in equal parts with sufficiently mature homemade compost or potting soil for potted shrubs. If you opt for planting between October and December, you obviously have to avoid periods of frost.

Preferably choose a large pot or a large container imperatively with a pierced bottom. To improve drainage, the bottom can be covered with a good layer of gravel, terracotta shards or clay balls. It is recommended to install a stake when planting the stem-grafted Shrimp Willow so that it remains perfectly straight. It then remains to place it in the light, away from drafts, while ensuring that it can benefit from sufficient shade during the hottest hours of the day.

Growing Shrimp Willow

The Shrimp Willow prefers to be installed in a lightly shaded area in the afternoon rather than full sun. He doesn’t like to be too hot, but he still needs good light. It particularly likes loose soil, neutral with an acid tendency (a pH between 5.5 and 7.5 suits it), fresh, rich and deep, sufficiently drained especially in winter. Although he likes moist soil, he hates having his feet in water.

This ornamental shrub can be used in isolation on the grass, solid with other small trees, hedge and even as alignment shrub along a beautiful driveway. In the latter case, it is necessary to respect a distance of 1 m between two subjects bushy habit.

Note that the rod driven subjects claim a little less space to grow and are also perfect for container culture. But here again, the roots must benefit from a certain coolness in summer. Of course, like all willows, this one does well near a water source such as a pond, a pond, a stream, a natural basin…

Prune the Shrimp Willow

He is absolutely essential to prune his willow shrimp every year in the spring to continue to see it adorn itself with its beautiful colors. The size is done late February – early March. It makes it possible to shorten the length of the stems by 30 to 50%, to eliminate dead branches and to give the branches a regular and well-balanced shape.

We insist on the importance of pruning a Shrimp Willow severely each year so that it retains its pretty port and continues to enchant the outdoor space with its soft colors. It would be a shame if he lost that attraction. Some gardeners even perform a second annual pruning during the month of August, of course facultative and less severe this time. It can be very beneficial since it promotes the formation of colorful new shoots from autumnwhich prolongs the decorative aspect of the Shrimp Willow when the natural space begins to become more or less sad.

Don’t forget to take advantage of a pruning session to remove rejectsmanually or with secateurs, which tend to grow on the trunk of the shrub.

Caring for a Shrimp Willow

This small Bushy Willow with exceptional colors and rapid growth does not show not very demanding in terms of care, except for watering. However, it may be suitable for beginner gardeners.


This shrub hate drought. Cultivating a Shrimp Willow therefore implies not leaving it in a corner without paying attention to it. During the two years following its planting, it needsregular watering and more sustained during periods of high heat. Be careful, if it is in a container, it must be watered more frequently than a Shrimp willow in the ground because the substrate dries particularly quickly in a pot.


Perform a regular weeding allows the shrub not to be subject to competition from weeds. It is therefore fundamental to allow it to develop well.


It is very useful to lay a mulch at the foot of the Shrimp willow. Ideally, one can use Strawfrom Fragmented Ramial Wood (BRF) or mulch. This precaution limits on the one hand the development of unwanted weeds and on the other hand the evaporation process. It is therefore a good way for the ground at the foot of the shrub to remain clean and retain freshness better.


Only the Shrimp willow in pot needs to be fertilized twice a year (in spring and at the very beginning of summer) thanks to a liquid organic fertilizer to be diluted in the irrigation water. This is normal since in such conditions, the growing medium quickly devitalizes.

Pests and diseases

To keep your Shrimp Willow healthy, it is essential to grow in the best possible conditions. However, parasitic infestation cannot be 100% avoided. aphids. This proves that the shrub does not benefit from sufficient watering. We can also see that the soil (or substrate) is really too dry. It is therefore necessary to increase the frequency of watering to see the aphids disappear.

Excess heat associated with an obvious lack of water favor the appearance of scale insects and chrysomèles (beetles) that can be eradicated with sprays of water mixed with black soap and methylated spirit.

On the other hand, as the shrub quite likes humid atmospheres, it is more exposed to the risk of maladies cryptogamiques caused by pathogenic fungi. They can be prevented by spacing the small decorative willows sufficiently apart to allow air to circulate well between them.

Of course, that a Shrimp Willow is hit by thepowdery mildewthe septoriose or theanthracnose, it is absolutely essential to remove all affected parts in order to burn them immediately. The tools used must then be disinfected to avoid the risk of transmitting diseases to other plants. Note that a sulfur product eliminates powdery mildew and that other diseases can be prevented by spraying two or three times a year with a fungicide.

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