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.

In most cases, these unusual specimens are propagated for sale through grafting, where they are placed onto the rootstock of a 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.

You can recognize a tree may be a weeping form if it has "pendulum" or "pendula" in its name. The word comes from Latin meaning "hanging down."

These types of trees are a great choice for a focal point in the garden. The unusual growth habit is an eyecatcher. Many of the following varieties are shorter than the species tree and are easier to fit in a garden.

  • 01 of 19

    Camperdown Elm

    Camperdown elm tree
    Garden Photo World/Georgianna Lane/Getty Images

    The dense canopy of this tree 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, which is spread by bark beetles. Do not prune unless necessary as this makes it even more susceptible to beetles.

    • Botanical Name: Ulmus glabra "Camperdownii"
    • Family: Ulmaceae
    • Other Common Names: Umbrella elm, weeping elm
    • Native Area: United Kingdom
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 10 to 30 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 02 of 19

    Golden Curls Willow

    A golden curls willow tree
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    At first, this tree was considered to be a weeping willow, but botanists now classify 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.

    • Botanical 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 Area: China
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 20 to 40 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 03 of 19

    Inversa Norway Spruce

    An inversa norway spruce
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

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

    • Botanical Name: Picea abies "Inversa"
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping Norway spruce
    • Native Area: Picea abies comes from Europe
    • USDA Zones: 2b to 8
    • Height: Anywhere from 1.5 to 40 feet tall based on staking
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 04 of 19

    Weeping Alaskan Cedar

    Close-up of a weeping alaskan cedar tree
    F. D. Richards/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Though this bears the common names of cedar or cypress, this is a different tree species. 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."

    • Botanical Name: Xanthocyparis nootkatensis "Pendula, 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 Area: Western North America
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 7
    • Height: Usually 20 to 45 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    Continue to 5 of 19 below.
  • 05 of 19

    Weeping Birch

    A weeping birch tree
    Phoenix Wolf-Ray/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    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."

    • Botanical Name: Varieties of Betula pendula
    • Family: Betulaceae
    • Other Common Names: Silver birch
    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Height: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: Full sun; some varieties can take part shade
  • 06 of 19

    Weeping Cherries

    A weeping cherry tree
    masahiro Makino/Getty Images

    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.

    • Botanical Name: Prunus spp.
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Native Area: Asia
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Height: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: While part shade will work, flowering is best in full sun

    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

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

    • Botanical 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 Area: Europe
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 7
    • Height: 5 to 15' tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 08 of 19

    Weeping Crabapple

    A weeping crab apple tree
    Lee Wright/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    A weeping crabapple will provide beauty and grace to your garden throughout the year. In the springtime, it is 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 trees can cross-pollinate with apples, which is important since most apple trees cannot pollinate themselves or even with other trees of the 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 the trees are within at least 100 feet of each other. Bees will have an easier time the closer they are, especially for dwarf varieties like many of the weeping ones.

    • Botanical Name: Malus spp.
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping crab apple
    • Native Area: Asia, Europe, and North America
    • USDA Zones: Depends on the variety
    • Height: Depends on variety, but generally up to 15 feet tall
    • Exposure: Best in full sun

    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

    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.

    • Botanical Name: Pinus strobus "Pendula"
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping white pine, "Pendula" eastern white pine
    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Height: 6 to 15 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 10 of 19

    Weeping Fig

    A weeping fig tree
    Dinesh Valke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Many households have a weeping fig or ficus for a houseplant. It has a tendency to be a bit persnickety and seems to drop its leaves often. Try to combat this with regular watering and keeping it 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.

    • Botanical Name: Ficus benjamina
    • Family: Moraceae
    • Other Common Names: Benjamin's fig
    • Native Area: Australia and South Asia
    • USDA Zones: 10 to 11
    • Height: In Australia and Asia, it can be 100 feet tall or more; it is much smaller when used as a houseplant.
    • Exposure: Full sun to full shade
  • 11 of 19

    Weeping Golden Ash

    A weeping golden ash tree
    Tim Sheerman-Chase/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    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.

    • Botanical Name: Fraxinus excelsior "Aurea Pendula"
    • Family: Oleaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping yellow twig ash
    • Native Area: Europe and southwestern Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5 to 7
    • Height: 15 to 30 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 12 of 19

    Weeping Flowering Apricot

    A prunus armeniaca (Weeping Apricot)
    Harley Seaway/Getty Images

    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.

    • Botanical Name: Prunus mume "Pendula"
    • Family: Rosaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping apricot, Chinese plum, Japanese apricot
    • Native Area: Southern China
    • USDA Zones: 6 to 8
    • Height: 15 to 25 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    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

    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.

    • Botanical Name: Larix kaempferi "Pendula"
    • Family: Pinaceae
    • Other Common Names: Japanese larch
    • Native Area: Japan
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 6
    • Height: 6 to 40 feet tall based on grafting location
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 14 of 19

    Weeping Japanese Maple

    A weeping Japanese maple
    odonoughue/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    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, as well as "Matsukake," "Omuyarama," and "Green Cascade."

    • Botanical Name: Acer palmatum varieties
    • Family: Aceraceae
    • Other Common Names: Smooth Japanese maple
    • Native Area: China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Russia
    • USDA Zones: Each variety can be different but generally 5 to 9
    • Height: Depends on the variety. Many are 15 to 25 feet tall.
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 15 of 19

    Weeping Katsura Trees

    Katsura tree leaves
    Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens/Flickr/Public Domain Mark 1.0

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

    • Botanical 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 Area: Both are from China and Japan
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8 generally
    • Height: Depends on the variety
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 16 of 19

    Weeping Lindens

    A weeping linden losing its leaves
    sammydavisdog/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    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 to 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.

    • Botanical Name: Varieties of Tilia spp.
    • Family: Malvaceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping lime
    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Zones: Depends on species
    • Height: Depends on species
    Continue to 17 of 19 below.
  • 17 of 19

    Weeping Mulberry

    A weeping white mulberry
    Dinesh Valke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    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 a regular white mulberry if you plant the seeds.

    This is a female variety and may produce 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.

    • Botanical Name: Morus alba "Pendula"
    • Family: Moraceae
    • Other Common Names: Weeping white mulberry
    • Native Area: The species is native to China
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8
    • Height: 6 to 20 feet tall depending on graft location
    • Exposure: Full sun
  • 18 of 19

    Weeping Pagoda

    A weeping pagoda tree
    Yoko Nekonomania/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    This tree is an example of why common names can be misleading. Despite bearing the 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.

    • Botanical Name: Sophora japonica "Pendula" or Styphnolobium japonicum "Pendulum"
    • Family: Fabaceae
    • Other Common Names: Japanese pagoda tree, weeping Chinese scholar tree, weeping Japanese pagoda tree
    • Native Area: China and Korea
    • USDA Zones: 5 to 8
    • Height: 10 to 25 feet tall
    • Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • 19 of 19

    Weeping Willow

    A weeping willow
    Ursula Sander/Getty Images

    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.

    • Botanical Name: Salix babylonica
    • Family: Salicaceae
    • Other Common Names: Babylon weeping willow
    • Native Area: China
    • USDA Zones: 4 to 9a, and up to 10 with consistent watering
    • Height: 35 to 50 feet
    • Exposure: Full sun