19 Species of Weeping Trees

illustration of species of weeping trees
Illustration: Alison Czinkota. © The Spruce, 2019

A weeping tree is one where the branches or leaves droop downward, creating a graceful profile. Most of these trees do not have this habit normally and are a result of mutations. These unusual specimens are propagated for sale through grafting, where they are placed onto the rootstock of the standard species. You cannot plant the seeds of these trees and expect them to come out weeping.

Since these are grafted, you will need to keep an eye out for suckers coming off of the species rootstock. These can sap energy and alter the shape of the tree since they are not from the weeping variety. The best sucker control methods, in this case, are keeping the tree healthy and tearing any suckers off when they first appear.

One way to recognize that a tree is weeping by name alone is if the species or variety has a form of 'Pendulum' like 'Pendula' in it.

These types of trees are a great choice for a focal point in the garden. The unusual habit will catch the eye and draw it to that location. Many of these varieties are shorter than the species tree, so they are easier to fit into any garden.

  • 01 of 19

    Camperdown Elm

    Camperdown elm tree
    Garden Photo World/Georgianna Lane/Getty Images
    • Latin Name: Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii.'
    • Family: Ulmaceae
    • Other Common Names: Umbrella elm, weeping elm
    • Native to: United Kingdom
    • USDA Zones: 4-8
    • Height: 10-30' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    We think that a children's picnic under this tree would be a lot of fun. The dense canopy makes this seem like a secret hiding place. You will have a lot of seeds blown around the yard when this tree fruits, so there will be some cleaning up to do. Since this tree is grafted, you cannot get new Camperdown elms by planting the seeds.

    This cultivar has the potential to be infected with Dutch elm disease. It is brought by bark beetles. Do not prune unless necessary as this makes it even more susceptible to the beetles.

  • 02 of 19

    Golden Curls Willow

    A golden curls willow tree
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'
    • Family: Salicaceae
    • Other Common Names: Hankow willow, contorted willow, dragon's claw, curly willow, Pekin willow globe willow, rattlesnake willow, and twisted twig willow
    • Native to: China
    • USDA Zones: 4-8
    • Height: 20-40' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Sometimes botanists can determine that trees thought to be the same species are a bit further apart genetically. This tree was considered to be a weeping willow, but botanists now put it as Salix matsudana.

    This is a tree to consider if you want to liven up your garden, especially in the winter. Both the branches and the leaves twist and curl.

  • 03 of 19

    Inversa Norway Spruce

    An inversa norway spruce
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Picea abies 'Inversa'
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping Norway spruce
    • Native to: Picea abies comes from Europe
    • USDA Zones: 2b-8
    • Height: Anywhere from 1.5-40' tall based on staking
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    The height of your Inversa Norway spruce depends on whether you decide to train it or not. You would choose a central leader and add something like a stake or pole, so it has something to lean against. Otherwise, it will form more of a weeping groundcover.

    This is one of the hardiest weeping trees and works well to create a focal point in colder regions. It will take some effort to keep it trained up but is well worth the time.

  • 04 of 19

    Weeping Alaskan Cedar

    Close-up of a weeping alaskan cedar tree
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Xanthocyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'. Some also write this as Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula', Callitropsis nootkatensis 'Pendula' or Cupressus nootkatensis 'Pendula.'
    • Family: Cupressaceae
    • Other Common Names: Alaska-cedar, Nootka cypress, Alaska cypress, Nootka cedar, Alaska yellow cedar, yellow cypress, yellow cedar, Nootka false cypress
    • Native to: Western North America
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: Usually 20-45' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Though this bears the common names of cedar or cypress, this is a different tree species. The genus name has been changing as botanists further study familial relations on the genetic level. Since this is an evergreen conifer, it will continue to provide color even during the winter.

    Besides 'Pendula,' weeping varieties include 'Glauca Pendula,' 'Jubilee' and 'Strict Weeping.'

    Continue to 5 of 19 below.
  • 05 of 19

    Weeping Birch

    A weeping birch tree
    Phoenix Wolf-Ray/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Latin Name: Varieties of Betula pendula
    • Family: Betulaceae
    • Other Common Names: Silver birch
    • Native to: Europe
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Height: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: Full sun. Some varieties can take part shade.
    • 12 Birch Trees and Shrubs

    The weeping birch tree has a graceful look. 

    One common variety is Young's weeping birch, which is 'Youngii.' Other weeping varieties include 'Carelica,' 'Dalecarlica,' 'Golden Cloud,' 'Gracilis,' 'Laciniata,' 'Purpurea' (which, as the name suggests, has purple leaves) and 'Tristis.'

  • 06 of 19

    Weeping Cherries

    A weeping cherry tree
    masahiro Makino/Getty Images
    • Latin Name: Prunus spp.
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Native to: Asia
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Height: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: While part shade will work, flowering is best in full sun

    If you want a weeping tree that flowers in the spring, a weeping cherry is an excellent choice. The cascading branches heighten the dazzling blossom show.

    Some weeping cherries include:

    • Cheal's weeping cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Kiku-shidare-zakura')
    • Double weeping Higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula Plena Rosea')
    • Snow Fountains ™ Yoshino cherry(Prunus x yedoensis ‘Snow Fountains’)
    • Weeping Higan cherry (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula,' 'Pendula Alba' and 'Pendula Rubra')
  • 07 of 19

    Weeping Copper Beech

    Purple beech leaves
    FreeUsePhotos/Flickr/Public Domain
    • Latin Name: Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Pendula,' 'Pendula,' 'Atropunicea' or'Atropurpurea.'
    • Family: Fagaceae
    • Other Common Names: Purple-leaf weeping European beech, ‘Purpurea Pendula’ European beech, purple weeping beech, weeping purple European beech
    • Native to: Europe
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: 5-15' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    Train this to have a central leader if you want it to resemble a tree. Otherwise, it tends to form more of a shrub.

  • 08 of 19

    Weeping Crabapple

    A weeping crab apple tree
    Lee Wright/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Malus spp.
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping crab apple
    • Native to: Asia, Europe, and North America
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Height: Depends on variety, but generally up to 15' tall
    • Exposure: Best in full sun

    A weeping crabapple will provide beauty and grace to your garden throughout the year. In the springtime, they are covered with a profusion of flowers. These turn into fruits (often red) that add color and provide food for wildlife in the fall and winter.

    These can cross-pollinate with apples, which is important since most apple trees cannot pollinate themselves or even other trees of their same variety. Using a weeping crabapple allows this process to happen without creating an overabundance of fruit for those who only desire one apple tree. For best results, make sure they are somewhere within at least 100' of each other. Bees will have an easier time the closer they are, especially for dwarf varieties like many of the weeping ones.

    Weeping varieties include:

    • 'Louisa' (single pink)
    • 'Luwick' (single pink)
    • ‘Molazam’ (single white)
    • 'Red Jade' (single white)
    • 'Red Swan' (single white)
    • 'Royal Fountain' (single pink)
    • ‘Weepcanzam' (single pink)
    Continue to 9 of 19 below.
  • 09 of 19

    Weeping Eastern White Pine

    A weeping white pine
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Pinus strobus 'Pendula'
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping white pine, 'Pendula' eastern white pine
    • Native to: North America
    • USDA Zones: 3-8
    • Height: 6-15' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    The weeping eastern white pine can serve well as a garden specimen. You will need to add a stake if you want it to have more of a tree form instead of a multi-trunked shrub.

    You may want to reconsider growing this if you keep currants or gooseberries. These plants can serve as hosts for the white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola fungus is the agent) and spread the disease. Call your local extension office to see if this is a concern in your area.

  • 10 of 19

    Weeping Fig

    A weeping fig tree
    Dinesh Valke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Ficus benjamina
    • Family: Moraceae
    • Other Common Names: Benjamin's fig
    • Native to: Australia and South Asia
    • USDA Zones: 10-11
    • Height: In Australia and Asia, it can be 100'+ tall. It is much smaller when used as a houseplant.
    • Exposure: Full sun to full shade

    Many households have a weeping fig for a houseplant. They can be a bit persnickety and seem to drop their leaves all the time. Try to combat this with regular watering and keeping them in one place with no movement.

    In hot places like Florida, this tree can grow to heights over 100 feet tall and become a nuisance. Some areas classify it as invasive. Make sure you have enough room if you want to plant one of these.

  • 11 of 19

    Weeping Golden Ash

    A weeping golden ash tree
    Tim Sheerman-Chase/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Latin Name: Fraxinus excelsior 'Aurea Pendula'
    • Family: Oleaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping yellow twig ash
    • Native to: Europe and southwestern Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5-7
    • Height: 15-30' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun

    In addition to the weeping trait, the weeping golden ash features yellow branches and black leaf buds. The foliage turn golden as well in the fall. This tree has the opposite branching that is standard for ash trees and not many genera exhibit this trait.

  • 12 of 19

    Weeping Flowering Apricot

    A prunus armeniaca (Weeping Apricot)
    Harley Seaway/Getty Images
    • Latin Name: Prunus mume 'Pendula'
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping apricot, Chinese plum, Japanese apricot
    • Native to: Southern China
    • USDA Zones: 6-8
    • Height: 15-25' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    The weeping flowering apricot will put on a glorious display of perfumed blossoms early in the spring. In addition to the pendant form, it has semi-double flowers. It can grow in either full sun or partial shade but will have the best flower production with more sun.

    Continue to 13 of 19 below.
  • 13 of 19

    Weeping Japanese Larch

    A weeping japanese larch
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Larix kaempferi 'Pendula'
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Other Common Names: Japanese larch
    • Native to: Japan
    • USDA Zones: 4-6
    • Height: 6-40' tall based on grafting location
    • Exposure: Full sun

    New trees of this variety are created through grafting. As a deciduous conifer, it will provide the look of an evergreen during the growing season until it loses its needles in the autumn. The shape of the tree will provide winter interest.

  • 14 of 19

    Weeping Japanese Maple

    A weeping Japanese maple
    odonoughue/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Latin Name: Acer palmatum varieties
    • Family: Aceraceae
    • Other Common Names: Smooth Japanese maple
    • Native to: China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Russia
    • USDA Zones: Each variety can be different but generally 5-9
    • Height: Depends on the variety. Many are 15-25' tall.
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    This staple of the bonsai world can also add an Asian flair to your garden. Some Japanese maples with a weeping habit include any with 'Dissectum' in the name, 'Matsukake,' 'Omuyarama' and 'Green Cascade.'

  • 15 of 19

    Weeping Katsura Trees

    Katsura tree leaves
    Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens/Flickr/Public Domain Mark 1.0
    • Latin Name: Cercidiphyllum magnificum 'Pendulum', 'Pendula', 'Tidal Wave' and 'Amazing Grace'. Cercidiphyllum japonicum also has a 'Pendulum' variety.
    • Family: Cercidiphyllaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping magnificent katsura tree
    • Native to: Both are from China and Japan
    • USDA Zones: 4-8 generally
    • Height: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    The leaves are much like that of the redbuds (Cercis) as the genus name notes, but they are arranged oppositely on the stem. They start out as purple, change to green as the growing season progresses, and turn golden in the fall.

  • 16 of 19

    Weeping Lindens

    A weeping linden losing its leaves
    sammydavisdog/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Latin Name: Varieties of Tilia spp.
    • Family: Malvaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping lime
    • Native to: Europe
    • USDA Zones: Depends on species
    • Height: Depends on species
    • Exposure:

    Two different Tilia species can be called weeping linden:

    Tilia petiolaris is the weeping silver linden. Other applicable common names include penchant white lime, pendant silver linden, and weeping silver lime. It is suitable for Zones 5-9.

    The little leaf linden (Tilia cordata) has some weeping cultivars that are also dwarf forms. Look for 'Pendula nana' and 'Girard's Pendula Nana.'

    In Europe, linden trees are known as lime. These are a favorite of bees and produce a heady aroma when in bloom.

    Continue to 17 of 19 below.
  • 17 of 19

    Weeping Mulberry

    A weeping white mulberry
    Dinesh Valke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
    • Latin Name: Morus alba 'Pendula'
    • Family: Moraceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping white mulberry
    • Native to: The species is native to China
    • USDA Zones: 4-8
    • Height: 6-20' tall depending on graft location
    • Exposure: Full sun

    The weeping mulberry is much smaller than the standard species, which can be 30 to 40 feet tall. It is propagated through grafting, so you will get the regular white mulberry if you plant the seeds.

    This is a female variety and may produce the mulberry fruits. This can be great for eating and attracting wildlife, but you may find its litter to be too much. If you want the weeping habit without fruit, choose the 'Chaparral variety,' which is male.

    You will need to keep an eye out for suckers, especially since they are from the full-size tree rootstock. You can help control suckers by snipping off the offending part and keeping the tree watered and healthy.

  • 18 of 19

    Weeping Pagoda

    A weeping pagoda tree
    Yoko Nekonomania/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
    • Latin Name: Sophora japonica 'Pendula.' You may also see it as Styphnolobium japonicum 'Pendulum.'
    • Family: Fabaceae
    • Other Common Names: Japanese pagoda tree, weeping Chinese scholar tree, weeping Japanese pagoda tree
    • Native to: China and Korea
    • USDA Zones: 5-8
    • Height: 10-25' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade

    This tree is an example of why common names can be misleading. Despite bearing a common name of Japanese pagoda tree, it originated in Korea and China.

    The highlight of this variety is the weeping nature, as it tends not to flower and fruit like the standard species. The branches can also add interest in the winter after the leaves have turned yellow and fallen off.

  • 19 of 19

    Weeping Willow

    A weeping willow
    Ursula Sander/Getty Images
    • Latin Name: Salix babylonica
    • Family: Salicaceae
    • Other Common Names: Babylon weeping willow
    • Native to: China
    • USDA Zones: 4-9a, and up to 10 with consistent watering
    • Height: 35-50'
    • Exposure: Full sun

    Weeping willows are commonly found by rivers, lakes, streams and other bodies of water. This riparian species loves wet soil as long as there is drainage. For that reason, it is best planted away from houses lest the roots find your pipes. Since the wood tends to snap easily, choose a location that is safe from high winds if possible.