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Twisted Plants

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December 12, 2019


The winter season can really show off some twisted plants found in the landscape today on Southern Gardening. 

Plants that have twisted or contorted features are fantastic at drawing attention to themselves, and your landscape especially in the fall and winter.  Probably the first contorted plant I found interesting, along with many other gardeners I’m sure, is Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick.  This is a member of the filbert family that is actually a slow growing shrub having twisted stems, branches, and even leaves.  This is a fine specimen during the summer months, buts really stands out in the winter months.  The plant is grafted so care must be taken when doing any type of pruning. 

Corkscrew willow is a fast growing landscape plant that will reach up to 50 feet tall and 25 feet wide.  Corkscrew willow tolerates heavy pruning to control its size.  The pruning has the additional effect of promoting tight, compact growth.  Floral designers prize the twisty and curvy stems and branches for winter arrangements.  Contorted white pine is a plant that doesn’t have twisted branches, but does have twisted needles.  The clusters of evergreen curly needles provide interest all year long. 

When planting in the landscape consider the background as this will help to accentuate the curviness of the branches and stems.  Planted against a solid background like a garden wall is a good choice.  Or in northern Mississippi where an occasional snow will blanket the ground the contorted stems will stand out and be highlighted by the white background. 

Contorted plants are unique and are great focal points to add interest in the landscape.  Consider finding a special place in your landscape for some twisted plant material.  I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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