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Pussy Willow: The Silken Touch For Chinese New Year

It’s a cute sight, fuzzy in appearance, silken to the touch, and a must-have for the Chinese New Year. Do you know what it is? You’re absolutely correct, it’s the Pussy Willow plant! Read on to get acquainted with this spring tree, just in time for the festivities.

PUSSY WILLOW SYMBOLISM

Resembling tiny cats’ paws, the Pussy Willow flowers silver tufts, called catkins, which will later give forth to green shoots in the colour of jade. In Chinese culture, this represents the coming of prosperity. 

Though they’re usually white or grey, vendors have found a way to dye them in all sorts of vivid shades if you need a pop of (lucky!) colour.

IMPORTANT GIFTING NOTES FOR PUSSY WILLOW

Pussy Willow For Gifting: Do's

  • If you’re friends with a serial plant killer, Pussy Willows are the perfect go-to because they’re extremely hardy!
  • Keep fresh-cut Pussy Willows hydrated to experience their flowering cycle and leafing-out process.

 

Pussy Willow For Gifting: Don'ts

  • Pussy Willows are toxic, and should be kept away from small children and pets.
  • Male Pussy Willows are allergenic too, avoid gifting to people who are sensitive to pollen.

 

PUSSY WILLOW PLANT CARE 101

On top of being a symbol of prosperity, the Pussy Willow Pussy also signifies motherhood, protection in the home, and peace. In fact, during the Tomb Sweeping Festival (Qingming), many Chinese place Pussy Willow at their front doors to help ward off evil spirits. Perhaps getting a bunch or two of these will help you in the Year of the Tiger!

Basic Care Steps For Cut Pussy Willow

  • Pussy Willows usually come cut in arrangements and are usually trouble-free. However, they can be prone to a number of fungal diseases. 
  • Keep an eye out for lesions, dead or dying stems, and prune those out.
  • Need more tips? Read our Flower Care Guide!

 

Additional Pro-Tips for Cut Pussy Willow

  • It doesn’t matter if they’re potted or in a vase, Pussy Willows need fresh water twice a week to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in stagnant water.
  • Singapore’s hot weather may make things fairly difficult for the Pussy Willow to grow new shoots after it blooms, but if you would like to try either way, you should place them in areas with shade.

 

PUSSY WILLOW: A HISTORY

Legend has it that the inhabitants of an ancient city in Asia were particularly fond of cats, which was home to a great number of them. These cats were believed to be sacred and were fed and treated well. 

When the city was very old, there came a great flood, and the cats did not like water. While the older cats made their way to a forest of trees, the younger kittens didn’t have the stamina to follow. They clung to trees and branches to keep dry, rolled themselves into a little ball, and went to sleep. The sight resembled that of a budding willow tree, and that’s why the name stuck!

PUSSY WILLOW VARIETIES

Pussy willow is the name given to willow species in the Salix genus, and mostly applies to three species: 

Salix Discolor

  • Silvery-white catkin when in bloom
  • Native to North America

 

Salix Cinerea

  • Deep yellow catkin when in bloom
  • Native to Northern Europe

 

Salix Caprea

  • White catkins when in bloom
  • Native to Northern Europe and Asia

 

Cat Got Your Tongue?

It’s the Year of the Tiger after all, and there’s no seasonal plant quite like the Pussy Willow to help usher in roaring prosperity! Perhaps it’s time to spring someone a surprise or two with a Surprise Bunch, you never know.