Salix viminalis ‘Gigantea’
The Common Osier or Basket Willow is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub growing to between 2 and 5 m tall with long, stout, straight branches of yellow to red. The dark green leaves are long and slender with a silky grey-haired underside.
The Common Osier is one of the most widely used willows for basket work of all types due to its combined strength and pliability. If cultivating for this purpose, the plants should be cut to the ground each year in order to provide pliable stems the following year, or every two years for thicker stems. They are ideal for weaving larger items such as living structures and sculptures in the garden.
Willows also have medicinal uses (the source of aspirin), and are a useful component of wastewater treatment systems, soil stabilisation and phyto-remediation schemes, as the plants are said to take up heavy metals and other toxic substances. They also produce a huge amount of biomass which can be ‘chopped and dropped’ throughout the season, or put through a wood chipper, in a forest garden or syntropic food forest situation to provide carbon material and mulch for soil improvement in the form of ramial wood chip (RWC).
Willow branches can also be chopped and soaked in water for 24 hours to make a rooting hormone for cuttings. Willows provides excellent bee food in early spring for rearing brood.
Requires a sunny spot and moist soils, and will tolerate very wet soils and periodic flooding. Do not plant near buildings or drains as roots can be invasive.
PB3/4. Certified organic potted plant – please note we do not sell cuttings.