Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’

weeping willowleaf pear

Outstanding Qualities

Pyrus salicifolia 'Pendula' or weeping willowleaf pear is widely coveted outside the Pacific Northwest but is only practical to grow here. It is susceptible to fireblight which prevalent throughout the United States but not in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia so it performs very well here. The silver foliage is its main attribute and is an excellent tree as when used as a specimen or focal point in the garden for that very reason. There are very few large woody plants that are truly silver and this in one of a handful that fits the description. It is excellent when used in combination with other silver leaved plants and often the central point of interest in Mediterranean planting schemes, so grow it with Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, artimesias, Iris foetidissima 'Variegata', Nepeta 'Walker's Low', Parahebe perfoliata, Salvia verticillata 'Purple Rain' and Stipa gigantea. The most notable and highly photographed specimen of weeping willowleaf pear is in the white garden at Sissinghurst Castle, home and garden of the late Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: gold, orange, purple

Great Color Partners: silver, blue, dark green

Culture Notes

This durable small tree will look best in full sun with well-drained or sandy soil. This selection will tolerate clay with adequate drainage. Once established it is drought tolerant. It can be allowed to grow with little or no pruning to become a freeform mound of wild silvery growth or it can be carefully trained yearly to accentuate its angular growth. It is not a tree for beginning pruners. Consult an experienced pruner or take local classes before attempting to prune.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: tree

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established