Salix ‘Golden Sunshine’

Because this garden can be soggy in winter and I need some tough foundation plants, cornus and salix have featured prominently in early planting. Salix (willows) are an interesting group of plants with lots to offer gardeners if you don’t mind a lack of ‘wow’ factor, and are generally easy and fast.

Although they are more usually grown for their coloured stems or even their catkins, their foliage is often attractive too. But, as far as I know, there are no variegated kinds apart from the (in my opinion*) very nasty Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ which presumably is Japanese for ‘Oh no, I ate too much strawberry ice cream and threw up’. So I was delighted to discover that a Mr Izumi Takuya found a yellow-leaved sport on Salix udensis (or maybe S. sachalinensis) in 2005. It was patented in 2008 and is now becoming widely available as ‘Golden Sunshine’.

I apologise for the poor photo and will post a better one when it gets more leaves. But i am quite excited by this new shrub. It has narrow, graceful foliage on strong, upright shoots and has an almost ‘bamboo-like’ appearance if hard pruned to promote young growth. It puts up with wet soil and apparently does not scorch in full sun. It has not had to contend with much sun here so far but we will see. It is a nice change for an ‘all yellow’ leaf to withstand sun without scorching. It may have potential for screening. As it is, I think it is a rather exciting new golden foliage shrub where there is space for a shrub about 4m high and 3m wide or slightly less if ‘stooled’ every spring.

*I know I am in the minority here because it is in gardens everywhere

For similar effect, in a smaller space, Cornus alba ‘Aurea’ is a nice plant but the all-yellow leaves do scorch in harsh sun if the soil is dry. I have it planted where it gets shaded in summer. It looks especially nice in spring. I need to prune it now really but will leave it unpruned for a year to allow it to get a bit of bulk and prune next spring. It is not a strong grower compared with other Cornus alba. ‘Spaethii’ has green and gold leaves and is a far stronger grower.


6 Comments on “Salix ‘Golden Sunshine’”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    April 18, 2023 at 8:46 am #

    There are two very small willows in the garden which came as cuttings and without a name. They are inoffensive and reasonably pleasant so are left there. We have one Salix magnifica which is abut 4+ metres high, too high but I cut back one main branch to see if it would sprout and give a lower bushy effect but that lead to dieback so I am left with bare legs and all the attractive parts up in the air where I can’t see them!

    • thebikinggardener
      April 18, 2023 at 9:09 am #

      I have Salix magnifica too. It is bushy at the base but has one lead shoot 2m high. Perhaps I should shorten that quickly to prevent a strange shape. It is strange that it does not sprout from pruning old stems. I see there are catkins forming this year so I will see if it is male or female – I think the females have the longest catkins.

      • Paddy Tobin
        April 18, 2023 at 9:51 am #

        I have it in mind to attempt propagation which is generally very easy with willows so as to have a more attractively shaped plant.

        • thebikinggardener
          April 19, 2023 at 8:14 am #

          I just looked and the catkins are male so won’t be as big as they could be. But they are still interesting. I hope your cuttings ‘take’

  2. tonytomeo
    April 18, 2023 at 6:57 pm #

    Willows are impressively diverse! I like to think that I know how they behave, but I found that I do not when I tried to root scraps from one of those odd Japanese willows. It should be as simple as plugging dormant stems into damp soil where I want new specimens to grow. Well, you can imagine what happened, . . . or what did not happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sweetgum and Pines

gardening in the North Carolina piedmont

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Paddy Tobin, An Irish Gardener

Our garden, gardens visited, occasional thoughts and book reviews


un altro blog sul giardinaggio...


four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!


Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I'm Leah, a freelance Photographer born and raised in Macon, GA, USA. I spent 8 years in the wild west and this is my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming. Welcome to Uprooted Magnolia.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

We are working to save garden plants for people to use and enjoy today and tomorrow


An English persons experience of living and gardening in Ireland

%d bloggers like this: