Pyrus salicifolia ‘PENDULA’
Among quite a few English names of this species I think that silver pear is best. This deciduous tree really belongs to a pear family and has silvery blue-green, willow-like, narrow leaves. They emerge much greener in mid spring, along with the white, scented, 5-petalled flowers that are followed by small, rounded, non-edible fruit.
Pendula is a variety with quite disorganized mop-like canopy with somewhat weeping branches. They grow to all sides and eventually bend down but never expect a strict willow-like weeping form. It is so popular for a specific reason – its silver foliage and quite wild habit makes an excellent image of an olive tree. Apart from the trunk and fruit, obviously. So if you live in a climate colder that what olives can take use this weeping silver pear as a fantastic and hardy olive substitute when you are making a Mediterranean-style landscape.
Silver pear is very easy to grow. It loves full sun and warm locations. It can take some drought when established. The soil should be fertile, reasonably drained, no specific pH demands. For best result prune it hard every spring after flowering when the tree is young. Leave only 10-20% of previous year’s wood so that all new shoots are fresh and full of foliage. Hardy to about -34°C (USDA zone 4) and can be grown in a large outdoor container where it will need regular fertilizing after a few years.
Last update 17-12-2012
Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ or weeping willowleaf pear is widely coveted outside the Pacific Northwest but is only practical to grow here. It is susceptible to fireblight which prevalent throughout the United States but not in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia so it performs very well here. The silver foliage is its main attribute and is an excellent tree as when used as a specimen or focal point in the garden for that very reason. There are very few large woody plants that are truly silver and this in one of a handful that fits the description. It is excellent when used in combination with other silver leaved plants and often the central point of interest in Mediterranean planting schemes, so grow it with Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, artimesias, Iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’, Parahebe perfoliata, Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’ and Stipa gigantea. The most notable and highly photographed specimen of weeping willowleaf pear is in the white garden at Sissinghurst Castle, home and garden of the late Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.
Plant Type: tree
Foliage Type: deciduous
Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)
Plant Width/Spread: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)
Plant Height-Mature: 18 ft. 0 in. (5.49 meters)
Plant Width-Mature: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 8
Flower Color: white
Sun/Light Exposure: full sun
Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established
Colors & Combos
Great Color Contrasts: gold, orange, purple
Great Color Partners: silver, blue, dark green