Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki'
Variegated Japanese Willow, Dappled Willow
 
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Family: Willow family (Salicaceae)
Native Habitat: Japan, Korea, China, far southeastern Russia

There is only one reason to grow this amazing plant, and that is its incredible variegated leaves. A well grown plant can appear almost solid white in the landscape in spring. However, to take full advantage of 'Hakuro Nishiki', there are several things you should be made aware of.

First and foremost, this is not a dainty compact plant. It's a fast grower and it can grow really big unless you have your garden shears handy. What's really big, you ask? How about 8, 10, or even 12 ft. tall and slightly less wide. Now that's a size most of us have no use for in our gardens. The good news is that it is easily kept smaller with a yearly pruning and the second thing you should know is that a yearly pruning also produces the best and brightest variegated foliage you'll probably ever see on a garden shrub.

The brightest variegation is found on vigorously growing branches and vigorous new growth is guaranteed by a yearly pruning in fall or winter. Variegation on the newest leaves of these branches is almost solid white and has a distinct bright pink tinge as well. Leaves that are closer to the bases of branches receive less sunlight and are mottled green with white splashing. As leaves age the white does become somewhat less prominent. By summer, the foliage color is still obviously variegated, but is definately more subtle.

Hakuro Nishiki is a Japanese name that refers to the brocade design evoked by the leaves and that is frequently used in obi or kimono-girdle cloth.

Ornamental Characteristics:
Incredible variegation on new growth. New leaves mostly white with a bright-pink tinge. Older leaves splashed white with green. Light yellow fall color.
Habit & Growth Rate:
Upright deciduous shrub. Fast growing. Can reach 10 to 12 ft. tall and wide but easily kept smaller by yearly pruning.
Landscape Uses: Shrub border, foundation planting if pruned on a regular basis. Makes a wonderful specimen plant. Deer resistant.
Hardiness: Zone 4 to 7.
Culture:
Easily grown in average garden soils. Full sun to light shade. Prune yearly to keep it in bounds and to produce the brightest variegation. New growth has best variegation.