Ask a Question forum: pussy willows

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Name: Jared
South Dakota (Zone 4a)
No More Winters!
ford443sd
Sep 25, 2014 8:00 PM CST
ok, great question for ya all if im not mistaken. pussy willows, the white ones, only bloom (im talking about the catkins), once a year? im interested if wether they "bloom" more than once a year, its it a harbinger of a bad winter coming, or is it a good sign? our pussy willow is about 6 to 6.5 feet high, and we live in north central SD.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 25, 2014 8:15 PM CST
Is it blooming now, Jared?? That would be pretty bizarre, I think.

On the other hand we did have a very early cold front come through. Did you have frost/snow a while back, and then the weather warmed up again?
Elaine

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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Sep 26, 2014 4:41 AM CST
Interesting question, Jared. The pussy willow I have blooms once a year. The catkins form over the winter and bloom in the spring.
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Sep 26, 2014 11:52 AM CST
I've never seen a pussy willow bloom but once/year. (Love them)
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Name: Jared
South Dakota (Zone 4a)
No More Winters!
ford443sd
Sep 26, 2014 2:51 PM CST
we did have a bit of a cold snap a few weeks ago, but only harmed one plant. didn't think it lasted long enough to do anything. but we did notice last evening that the catkins are forming for the second time this year, but have just started tho too.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Sep 26, 2014 4:04 PM CST
Do you mean they are forming after having bloomed this past spring?
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 26, 2014 4:12 PM CST
It's possible the plants were chilled enough, it 'fooled' them into thinking it was a very short winter and now it's spring.

Pussy willows are forced into bloom out of season by florists. The new wood is cut, chilled and then warmed up to force blooming for flower arrangements.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jared
South Dakota (Zone 4a)
No More Winters!
ford443sd
Sep 26, 2014 7:01 PM CST
very interesting reading, and thanks so much for all of your help and info!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Sep 26, 2014 7:39 PM CST
It's true: willows only bloom once a season. BUT as Elaine says, they can be fooled into thinking it is already the second season. I'll just assume that the pussywillow in question is not a native species. It would be extremely unusual if it were. Asian types, especially, can be screwed up by our climate, and exhibit what I think you are seeing. Jared, you weren't very clear whether your pussywillow is actually showing its full catkins or just peaking out from the buds scales unusually early. It's not that unheard of for some Asian species to do the latter, although its more common to happen in November. The usually case when this happens is that the growth is arrested because the full amount of cold treatment needed hasn't been met, or growth is slowed by plummeting temperatures.

FYI, catkins that bloom in the spring do not form "over the winter". They are produced the growing season prior to bloom, and overwinter as a flower bud. These branches with flower buds are what florist use to force pussywillows for arrangements.

There are willows that naturally bloom in the fall (only in the fall), by the way.
[Last edited by Leftwood - Sep 26, 2014 8:37 PM (+)]
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Sep 26, 2014 8:07 PM CST
Leftwood said:
FYI, catkins that bloom in the spring do not form "over the winter". They are produced the growing season prior to bloom, and overwinter as a flower bud.


I agree

I recently moved a good-sized one that I started from a cutting years ago. It's pissy about the move and is losing its leaves early; however, it is showing plumpness in next year's buds now.

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