Polar Bear Willow

sazzyrose(2b Sk)May 30, 2006

I posted this last night but it seems to have disappeared. I seen a polar bear willow (salix salicola) the other day. It's leaves are silvery, fuzzy and soft. Has anyone grown this shrub? How would you rate it for cold hardiness? Was it nice looking when it grew bigger?

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savona(z2bBCCanada)

I seen this willow a couple years ago and really liked it..so this year for my birthday in May I got one from a nursery..the info on the tag says..average size- 5m tallx2m wide..cold hardiness zone 3..full sun to part shade.."A large upright deciduous shrub or small multi-stemmed tree with rounded hairy silvery-blue foliage all season long. An excellant cold hardy selection for use as a unique specimen or accdnt to the border. Prefers moist location"
I am hoping it is going to be happy in my zone..savona

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:57AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Hi all!
Stumbled onto this thread when Googled on this cultivar!
Have seen this willow about 10 years ago in a small local garden center, I still remember how lovely it looked, but didn't purchased it,.... was sooo expensive!
I finally ordered this one from Boughen Nurseries Sask.
Anyone growing this?
Konrad

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 2:27PM
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sazzyrose(2b Sk)

I did end up buying one last spring. I'll let you know how it looks this spring.

Shelley

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 12:06PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

I can't find that species listed botanically anywhere, even as a synonym. I have the book, Willows The Genus Salix by C. Newsholme. No mention of it there either. If we knew the real species name, there could be a lot more info.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:35PM
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Pudge 2b

I think it might be Salix silicicola.

I read that it grows in the Athabasca Sand Dunes (wwwaaaayyy up north) so I don't think cold hardiness is going to be an issue. If it grows in the sand dunes, I would say that normal garden moisture is going to be more than enough.

I saw one a few years ago in a Yorkton garden - it's nice.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 6:27PM
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sazzyrose(2b Sk)

It is Salix Salicola according to Lois Holes book.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 7:54PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Yes it is, here a link with picture

Thanks,
Konrad

Here is a link that might be useful: Polar Bear Willow

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 10:05PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Yes, I came across that URL before too, Konrad. There are plenty of such unvarified references. I am talking about scientific adherence. Salicicola (thanks Pudge), at least I've seen that mentioned in a more botanical aspect, but still not listed anywhere as valid or invalid nomenclature, with any references. Very strange.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 8:25PM
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savona(z2bBCCanada)

The last few days my polar bear willow is putting on pussy willows...savona

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 12:51AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Wow!...that looks great!
Are you in some sub tropical area to be ahead like this?..LOL
I love pussy willow!...a sign of spring!
Konrad

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 12:49AM
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nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)

Good Morning All !

Just wondering how your Polar Bear Willows have done the last few years?

I have a spot that I think it will be perfect for. Clay soil, part sun/shade. Schreimer's website's description makes it sound perfect for me. Does it get the pussy willow things, whatever they're called?

Any comments or pictures would be greatly appreciated =:)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 2:03PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Mine didn't make it into the second year,...but then this plant wasn't
really growing after planting...just kind of hanging on.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 7:40PM
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savona(z2bBCCanada)

5 years later my Polar Bear willow is still alive. It has grown over 10-12 feet tall. I find it doesnt have much strengh in its multiple trunks and we have it loosely anchored to a 3 and a half foot fir block planter beside it...Jean

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 12:01AM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

I planted one last spring; this spring it is alive and it does get "pussy willow things" though they are not nearly as noticeable on mine as on an actual pussy willow. That may be because new growth isn't red like it is on a pussy willow tree, and also because my tree is still very small. *shrugs* It survived, anyway, in a very exposed location. I didn't water it at all last year, though we had a ton of rain. I'm interested to see how it does this year. I'm hoping it will be bushy and dense, not leggy and scraggly.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 7:22PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

If anybody has a picture of honey bees feeding on these pussies could kindly post it here,.... then I like to try another one for my bees.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:47PM
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Audrey(z3MN)

If you are interested in wild edibles, you might want to try a nibble of polar bear's fuzzy leaf. Willow leaves in early spring have not yet developed the tannin that makes them bitter, so they make a nice trail snack, or throw them in a salad. There is a willow with fuzzy leaves that doesn't get bitter and is edible all summer. Could polar bear be a cultivar? If anyone is brave enough to taste them, give us a report.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 7:19PM
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botanierra(z5 WI)

We have 3 of these on our property here in SE Wisc., and just love them. The main shrub (approx 10'w x 12'h) was here when we bought the lot 9 years ago. The other 2 are starts from that and are about 3 yrs old. I plan on doing several more starts this year. They are just so cool. Tasting sounds like a neat idea. I'm up for adventure, so I'll let you know.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:45PM
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Peaceroots

I know this is an old post but wondering how all your polar bear willows are doing? I have a 7 year that languished for the first 4 years then has flourished since. A very early flying insect (I think genus Egle) are flying drunkenly amongst the catkin pollen. Botanierra, I'm wondering what you do to create new starts? Just clip in spring and root in water?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:00PM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

I'll have to replant mine - some stupid gophers chewed mine off in the fall of it's first year just below the soil line. It was looking all askew, so I tugged on it and it came right out, and there was a gopher hole right beside it. Grrr...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Still waiting for reports if honey bees like them.

Peaceroots
This Polar Bear Willow might be the same as the French Willow I have, only some small insects are buzzing around, [as you see it] and the odd butterfly, never see a honey bee.

Are there any bee keepers in your area,..do you see honeybees on other plants/flowers.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:46PM
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savona(z2bBCCanada)

My Polar Bear willow is still doing fine after several years. The only problem I have with it is a big wind will knock it over. We have a 39 inch fir planter beside it and we loosely strap it to that to keep it stable. Ours gets 9-10 feet tall. It would probably be fine planted with other shrubs to stablize it.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 4:53PM
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