Crafts, Recipes, Tips,
& Guides
Enter Contests
Share & Vote
Get Advice
Submit a

Starting a Pussy Willow Plant from a Branch

1 0EmailPrintFollow


Can anyone tell me if I can start a pussy willow plant from rooting one of the branches in water?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Rose from Malvern, PA


Hi Rose,

You can easily start a pussy willow by rooting one of its branches in water. Pussy willows (like other trees in the willow family) produce a natural rooting hormone that encourages them to root quickly. In fact, if you put cutting from other plants in with the pussy willows that are rooting, the other plants are likely to root faster due to the presence of the rooting hormone.

To start a branch in water, select a 12 to 16 inch section that is from 1/2 to 1 inch thick. Remove any leaves that will fall before the water line, and stick the branch in a bucket of water. Store the branch in a cool place out of direct sunlight until some roots emerge. Then transplant the branch outdoors to moist soil.

Although pussy willow branches root easily in water, they will take off much faster if you root them directly in moist soil. This is because water roots (roots that have developed in water) are not the same as roots that have developed in soil. Water roots need time to adapt to their new growing conditions in soil, so branches that are rooted this way will take a bit longer to become established. Pussy willow branches can be rooted in pots indoors or directly in the garden as soon as weather permits (danger of frost is past).

Have fun!



About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Feedback Forum

Feedback about this article is posted here. Want to contribute? Click above to post feedback.

By Linda [1]09/25/2008

Simple instructions posted here

By siris (Guest Post)05/28/2008

I hope you realize that pussy willows grow on willows in the spring but turn to leaves for the summer and fall. They are just willow branches. Willow trees head for moisture which includes your plumbing pipes unless they are pvc. If you live in an older house be sure to plant far from your and your neighbors pipes.

By DIana (Guest Post)05/28/2008

I have a pussy willow that almost covers the back of my garage (Is over 12 feet tall and 14 feet wide) and it was started from a cutting. It was about 8 inches tall when I transplanted it. Beautiful! Good luck

By Rose Smith [44]05/11/2008

I put a branch in water and it looked like it started to sprout some leaves so I thought I was on my way to roots. The new leaf growth has died. How long does it take for the roots to sprout. Can I just cut the branch in another place and start again or is my branch too old. I got the branch from a floral display. Do I need to cut if off an actual shrub.

By Silvia (Guest Post)05/01/2008

If I'm planting a row of pussywillows that I've allowed to root in water, how far apart should I plant them?

By Kim Churchman [3]04/14/2008

You could also cut a pop bottle down the side, put a small hole in the bottom, slip it onto a branch and fill it with dirt. It will grow roots while still on the mother plant, so it won't rot while rooting. Keep it moist in the meantime, but that isn't hard to do.

By Ashley (Guest Post)04/10/2008

All willows have a natural rooting hormone (IBA) which was traditionally used to root other plants. You can take the water the willow branches were in and root other stuff after yours are rooted.

By D (Guest Post)04/09/2008

Yes you can. Just put the branch in a vase of water and let it stay in water. It will develop roots then plant it where you want your pussy willow.

By Lisa Schmidt (Guest Post)04/07/2008

I have some rooting in water right now. Its best to put the branch in water as soon as it is cut. I also put my in compost water (you can buy it at garden shops or make own), plants like the extra nitrogen early on. It may take a couple weeks.

By Sharon (Guest Post)04/07/2008

Yea you can start a pussy willow in water. I do it all the time to make new trees for family members. Good luck.

Post Feedback

Add your voice to the conversation. Click here to share feedback.