Salix purpurea ‘Nana’

dwarf purple osier

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

A charming rounded shrub, dwarf purple osier produces slim, upright, purplish branches bearing slender, grey-green leaves, pointed at each end and paler beneath. This contrast of leaf and twig is ornamental, as is its neat shape in winter, when branches are bare. Dwarf purple osier can be grown in a container, in the garden as a small shrub or even trained into a low, wide hedge. The species ranges from Europe and North Africa to central Asia and Japan, but the exact origin of this cultivar is not clear. The common name "osier" comes from the Middle Ages and refers to any willows with long shoots that are used for basketry. This is sometimes called Salix purpurea var. gracilis.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: occasional watering

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: orange, yellow, burgundy

Great Color Partners: purple, blue, lavender, silver

Culture Notes
This small willow performs best in full sun to light or open shade. It will tolerate wet to well-drained locations with sand or clay. Once established it only needs occasional watering during dry weather. Little pruning is needed. If the shrub looks too twiggy or becomes too large it can be cut back hard every two to four years and allowed to regrow.