Welcome spring each year with one of the earliest-to-bloom of all flowering shrubs: pussywillow. But not just any pussywillow, plant Black Cat Salix from Proven Winners. Each year, as soon as the days start to get longer and warmer, it bursts forth with big, fluffy catkins. They start out a beautiful silvery pink-red, turn to a handsome silver-black, and then go all silver before their pollen emerges. They are wind-pollinated, but the reason that we offer them is because so many different types of caterpillars feed on their foliage. You may find yourself hosting striped hairstreaks, mourning cloaks, and even the larvae of the amazing red-spotted purple butterfly, just to name a few!
Black Cat willow is a very large plant that needs a good amount of space. It makes an excellent choice for providing privacy and coverage, however, or as a backdrop to your pollinator garden.
Size: 10-12' tall and wide
Light: full sun (6+ hrs/day) is best; can be grown in part sun but flowering will be reduced and the plant may become kind of gangly.
Hardiness: USDA zone 4-7 (Find your hardiness zone)
Pollinator value: foliage hosts caterpillars of striped hairstreak, red-spotted purple, viceroy, mourning cloak, tiger swallowtail, and compton tortiseshell butterflies.
Notable features: unusual, early blooming, good for hedging, good for privacy and coverage, good cut flower.
Maintenance: Prune back hard after blooming to encourage dense growth and good flowering. While this isn't strictly necessary, you are likely to find the plant looks better and is easier to keep in scale with your landscape when managed this way. You can also do this every other year if you prefer.
Pot size: one quart
Plant name: Salix 'Lubber's Zwart', pp#27,403