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Willow - Osier (Salix viminalis)

Also known as basket willow and osier willow. Salicaceae family

Code: Salix vim
  • £1.20 (ex. VAT)
Item in Stock   |   Delivery within a few days

Key Features

Common osier (Salix viminalis) is

- Suitable as a woodland tree, urban tree or waterside shrub or windbreak

- Non-native but has been here since ancient times

- Deciduous

- Good in wet areas

- Safe to plant near livestock (non-toxic)

Grown on our farm in Herefordshire. Buy with confidence - read our customer reviews.

The specifications shown below are our normal range but we often have additional options.  If there is something that you are looking for, it's often worth contacting us.

Please Email Us or call 01989552028 if you would prefer to order on the phone or have any questions or to discuss a discount for larger quantities.


British Grown
Minimum Order Value £1000 +VAT
Free delivery over £3,000+VAT*
Trade terms available for orders over £5,000+VAT
Planting Essentials
Bagging Options
Product Options Height Age Root Type Specification 1+ 100+ 500+ Quantity Qty
Common Osier (Salix viminalis) Height: 20-60cm Age: 1 yr Root Type: Cell grown Specification: cell grown Common Osier (Salix viminalis) 1+ £1.50 (ex. VAT) 100+ £1.40 (ex. VAT) 500+ £1.30 (ex. VAT) Please Purchase in Multiples of: 12
20-60cm 1 yr Cell grown cell grown £1.50 (ex. VAT) £1.40 (ex. VAT) £1.30 (ex. VAT)
Common Osier (Salix viminalis) Height: 40-60cm Age: 2 yr Root Type: Bare Root Specification: 0/1 Common Osier (Salix viminalis) 1+ £1.20 (ex. VAT) 100+ £1.10 (ex. VAT) 500+ £1.10 (ex. VAT) Please Purchase in Multiples of: 25
40-60cm 2 yr Bare Root 0/1 £1.20 (ex. VAT) £1.10 (ex. VAT) £1.10 (ex. VAT) Out of stock | Email me when back in stock
Common Osier (Salix viminalis) Height: 60-80cm Age: 2 yr Root Type: Bare Root Specification: 0/1 Common Osier (Salix viminalis) 1+ £1.40 (ex. VAT) 100+ £1.30 (ex. VAT) 500+ £1.20 (ex. VAT) Please Purchase in Multiples of: 25
60-80cm 2 yr Bare Root 0/1 £1.40 (ex. VAT) £1.30 (ex. VAT) £1.20 (ex. VAT)
Total: £0.00 (ex. VAT)

Our range of bare root Osier plants (Salix viminalis)

Most bare root plants are grown from seed but Osier is grown from cuttings taken from good quality "mother plants" in winter and planted out into open fields in spring.  They are then ready for sale from the following November until the end of the bare root season in April.

We also have cell grown Osier plants grown by one of the UK's best specialist nurseries`and these plants have very strong but small roots and are suitable for landscape and amenity planting as well as wet woodland areas and specific "osier for biofuel" farming.

Common Osier (Salix viminalis) Summary

Common osier is the willow species commonly coppiced or pollarded in a one to two year cycle for its withies - thin pliable rods for making baskets, hurdles and willow screens, sometimes used as an alternative to hazel.  It is now being used as a biofuel. It is not native but is thought to have been brought to the UK in ancient times.  Like other willows it is generally found and planted in wet sites by the side of streams, rivers or ponds and its horizontal growing roots help with soil erosion.  Common Osier has an upright growth habit unlike some willows which are more weeping (see Salix alba).  Willows are one of the fastest growing plants with potential for hedging use and this speed of growth makes them suitable to use as a windbreak hedge in moist and loamy soils.  They will not grow as fast in dry, sandy soils but will still make a good hedge within a few years as long as the hedge line is keep free of weeds.

Soil and Situation

Salix vimilnalis will grow in any soil except chalk and prefers full sun or partial shade.  It likes wet sites by ponds or streams. It will grow at the coast and will tolerate salt winds but will not tolerate standing in sea water.  Salix viminalis has the capability of being able to absorb heavy metals from soil so it is used to decontaminate polluted soils.

Leaves, flowers and fruit

The leaves are very long and narrow with the edges rolling inwards.  They are green on the surface and have white hairs underneath giving a white felted effect.  Green female cakins and male yellow catkins (on separate plants) appear before the leaves in late winter and very early spring and after pollination the female catkins produce seeds which are carried on the wind.  The catkins provide early pollen and nectar for bees and other insects and the leaves are eaten by moth caterpillars.

Eventual height and growth rate

Salix viminalis is an upright shrub or small tree growing to about 6m in height and it is very fast growing at about 1.5m pa.






This section gives definitions on the specifications of plants that we sell.  We are specialists in field grown (or bare root) plants which are grown in two ways.  The majority are grown from seed, some are ready within one growing season (seedlings or 1+0's) and some species require two growing seasons (1u1's).  In addition to growing from seed we also grow from small plants or cuttings (transplants) which are much more widely spaced (taking more land, more irrigation water, fertilisers and labour).  There are only a handful of bare root wholesale nurseries in the UK and of those even fewer grow transplants but Ray Jenkins has many years' experience of transplanting so we grow these in large volumes.  Ray has written this blog about the benefits of bare root plants and how they are grown and another blog which gives further detail on bare root specifications.

The detailed specifications are shown below.  If you are in doubt about what specification to use please email us on with a description of the project (and photos if appropriate) and we will advise you.

1+0 - field grown in one season from seed, known as a seedling (sometimes called a whip), generally a slender single stem plant.   These are the cheapest specification and are particularly suitable for planting where weed competition will be less intense, soil is shallow or on exposed windy sites.  Gives a high root to shoot ratio and minimal plant "check".

2+0 - a 2 year seedling, field grown from seed in the same seed bed in two growing seasons where the species cannot be grown to a saleable plant from seed in one season

1U1 - 2 year old plant called an undercut, field grown for two seasons in the same seed bed and undercut by machine (a sharp blade cutting the roots under the soil level) after the first year to develop the root structure. We do this with several species which take 2 years to develop (eg oak, beech, hornbeam)

1+1 - 2 year old plant (transplant) grown from seed in the first year and then transplanted into a different area of the field and spaced out for the second growing season - a robust plant with a larger and more robust root system than seedling or undercut plant which will enable it to better withstand drought and weed competition. Often the best choice and the staple norm for farm hedging and this specification is a requirement of the Countryside Stewardship Grant

1+2- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two growing seasons giving a tall, stocky, bushy plant

2+1- a 3 year old plant, two years field growing in the seedbed and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further growing season, giving a strong bushy plant

3+1 - as above but field grown for a further growing season for more height and a very bushy plant

1+3- 4 year old, one year field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for three years, giving a very strong, bushy plant

2+2- 4 year old, two years field growing in the seed beds and then transplanted (and spaced out) for a further two years - a very mature plant suited to certain species like beech and hornbeam where we can offer almost instant hedging

and some that are a bit different.....

P9 - a plant grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel in a 9cm pot (for holly which germinates poorly in the field)

Cell grown - a plant grown in small deep cells (like a small yogurt pot) and then lifted out of those for transportation. Commonly used in forestry and large hedging projects.  Very high quality plants with excellent success rate.  See our blog on the benefits of cell grown plants.

C+1 or C+2 - a 3 or 4 year old plant initally started as hardwood cuttings grown on for a year as cell grown plants and then lined out in fields to grow on for a further 1 or 2 years (a technique used for Cherry Laurel)

0/1 - a hardwood cutting, then field grown for one season (for example for white willow, black poplar and osier)