Willows are a great plant for insects.
The early flowering catkins provide an abundant food source early in the year in March and April when little else is in flower.
We have planted many varieties of willow, both native species and others but for beekeeping, Salix candida, the Sage-Leaved Willow is one of our favourites.
It produces lots of very large catkins that provide a copious amount of pollen at a time just when the bees need it when they are expanding their colonies with many young mouths to feed.
It is fast growing (those in the picture are only 3 years old) but produces a rounded shrub, 2-3m high, instead of the very tall trees that many willows form.
It can be pruned hard or coppiced in winter that will encourage new growth covered in catkins and enable it to be managed to any size and shape required.
This makes it particularly useful in providing a screening hedge at the side of an apiary not only providing shelter and a windbreak but also but also a valuable food source. See - Position & Site a Bee Hive
Prefers a moist, well drained soil and will grow well from hardwood cuttings.
We usually have cuttings available for sale during November to February.