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It's everything but straight and straight: that's why the corkscrew willow is so popular. In the garden it attracts birds, insects and the looks of passers-by. How does the propagation of corkscrew willow succeed?

In a nutshell

  • grows very quickly but does not get very old
  • Regular pruning improves growth habit
  • by cutting in the fall sticks can be obtained
  • these are stored in winter and planted in spring
  • Propagating corkscrew willow is also possible via offshoots

corkscrew willow

A breed of the Chinese willow (Salix matsudana) has not only taken the hearts of hobby gardeners by storm, but also those of florists: the corkscrew willow 'Tortuosa'. It is pretty to look at with its twisted branches, lanceolate light green leaves and catkins in spring. It is excellent for designing flower arrangements and wreaths. Young plants are offered for sale in pots.

Source: Photo by David J. Stang, Salix matsudana Tortuosa 10zz, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you want to increase corkscrew willow, use it

  • sticks
  • cuttings
  • lowering

Propagation via cuttings

Instructions for rooting in water

  1. In spring or fall, cut a few branches of corkscrew willow, about 20 centimeters long, from the tree.
  2. Then remove all leaves over a length of about ten centimeters in the lower area.
  3. Place the sections in jars of water in a warm, bright place.
  4. When strong roots have formed after four to five weeks, you can plant them outdoors.
Source: Photo by David J. Stang, Salix matsudana Tortuosa 3zz, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Alternatively, you can then plant the willow cuttings directly in containers with soil.

Instructions for rooting in soil

  1. In the spring, cut off branches of the corkscrew willow that are about 20 centimeters long.
  2. Remove all leaves from the bottom for a length of about ten centimetres.
  3. Then mix ordinary potting soil with some sand and fill the mixture into a container.
  4. Stick the corkscrew willow cuttings into the ground.
  5. Place the jars in a warm, bright place.
  6. You can see the roots on newly formed leaves.
  7. Then you can plant the corkscrew willow cuttings outdoors.

Propagate by sticks

If you want to increase the corkscrew willow, you will quickly succeed with sticks. A stick is a shoot about 20 centimeters long, on which there are about three or four shoots.


  1. In the fall, cut sticks that are 20 centimeters long.
  2. Leave the shoots in a basket in the basement over the winter.
  3. Put the sticks in the ground in spring.

Notice: It's also important to be able to clearly see the top and bottom of the stick after you've cut it. Therefore, mark the wood with a straight cut at the top and an oblique cut at the bottom where the roots are to form.

Increase by lowering

Most willow species root very quickly. For this reason, it is possible to easily gain sinkers when propagating corkscrew willow.


  1. Choose a very pliable branch of corkscrew willow that reaches to the ground.
  2. Dig a trench about four inches long in the ground.
  3. Pull the branch down and bury it in this gully.
  4. Complain the spot with two bricks.
  5. Drive in a wooden stick and fasten the tip of the shoot so that it points upwards.
  6. Water the rooting site regularly and fill up with soil.
  7. Separate the offshoot from the mother plant with a sharp knife.
Corkscrew willow (Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa') on the left; Source: GT1976, 2022-05-13 (236) Salix matsudana tortuosa (chinese willow) and Syringa (lilac) at garden at Bichlhäusl in Frankenfels, Austria, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

frequently asked Questions

Are corkscrew willow and corkscrew hazel the same plant?

No, the corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') is a special form of the hazelnut bush. It does not root as quickly as the willow.

Which location is suitable for the offshoots of the corkscrew willow?

Choose a sunny spot with humus rich, well-drained soil. Note that corkscrew willows form extensive roots. Plan a meter of space all around. Container plants need a pot with at least 30 liters.

Are young plants already hardy?

Young corkscrew willows are not yet hardy. Therefore, wrap potted plants in bubble wrap and place them in a frost-proof room on a wooden or polystyrene base. Outdoor plants need a thick layer of brushwood to protect them from the cold.

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