Growing personally selected trees in your yard is at once a challenging project for the novice gardener and one of the best ways to customize the appearance of your front or back yard. The peppermint willow tree, for example, can add a characteristic weeping willow look to any lawn in which it growing. Arguably the most important part of successfully growing your own trees is to learn all the essential characteristics of that tree -- such as the tendency for the peppermint willow to grow outwards rather than upwards -- both to know if the tree will even flourish in your climate and to monitor the tree's health should you decide to plant it.
The peppermint willow tree (Agonis flexuosa), also called the Australian willow myrtle, is an evergreen tree similar to the willow in many ways but not actually a willow. Willows tend to have a stronger root system than the peppermint willow. The peppermint willow is commonly grown as an ornamental or shade tree due to its large size and predictable growth habits. In fact, the peppermint willow is well suited to grow under power lines since it grows slowly and, when it does grow, tends to do so in an outward rather than an upward manner.
Ideal Growth Conditions
The peppermint willow can adapt itself to many different soil types, even poor quality soils. A good planting site is one that provides full sun to partial shade and that does not get colder than 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. The peppermint willow also tolerates strong winds and seaside conditions, making it an excellent choice for coastal areas. The peppermint willow is somewhat drought tolerant but does require a well-drained soil.
At full maturity, the peppermint willow can grow up to 35 feet or taller. The tree's "spread," the diameter from one end of the crown to the other, is medium, meaning that it is usually somewhere between half the tree's height and it's total height. The trunk is sometimes straight but occasionally twisted and is red or brown in color. The older the tree gets, the larger and more massive the trunk becomes.
Foliage and Flowers
The peppermint willow's leaves are typically 4 to 6 inches long and 1/4 inch wide, long and narrow, dull green colored, with occasional reddish tinges. In June usually, the tree blooms small, white ornamental flowers in 1/2-inch clusters on the tips of branches. During this same time of year, the peppermint willow produces small, inconspicuous fruits rarely growing larger than 1/2 inch and persist on the tree throughout several growing seasons.