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On Sukkos, Jews are commanded to take the four species, among them the "ערבי נחל" or "willow branches," commonly referred to as ערבות aravos.

How might one go about growing them himself, at home?

(I don't ask about the other three, because אתרוג and לולב, AFAIK, can not be grown out of tropical environments without a lot of special equipment, and הדסים are difficult to care for. If you would like to see these discussed you can always ask.)

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  1. After Sukkos is over (and you don't need them for mitzvah purposes anymore), collect your leftover aravah branches that you used for ד' מינים and הושענות. (You may also want to collect other's branches, because many people just leave their הושענות in shul when they're done with them -- that's another 5 branches per bundle!)
  2. Place the branches in water, with the cut side in the water.
  3. Leave them this way over the winter, changing the water occasionally (honestly, it doesn't have to be all that often, but you should probably do it whenever the water starts to look dark and murky). [this is because new bushes aren't strong enough to last through the winter where I live, and need to form roots....they may fare better in warmer climates, but I don't have any experience with that.]
  4. When Spring comes, place the plants in the ground, cut side in the ground.

Now you have your own aravos bush! You may want to dump some water on it whenever you start feeling guilty about leaving this plant outside, but it doesn't really need all that much extra water. Enjoy your cheap aravos for many years to come!

I have done this myself and it works. The plan is my father's, whose bushes still provide many great aravos every year.

Also they should be trimmed twice a year. Every time they are trimmed they grow out. They should be trimmed at the end of July and after Sukkot.

  • Why do you trim them after Sukkos and not before Sukkos? – DonielF Jul 25 '18 at 13:18
  • @DonielF I...I don't know. That tip was added by an anonymous contributor. judaism.stackexchange.com/posts/47370/revisions ...perhaps because trimming right before Sukkos will invalidate the branches that have been trimmed, defeating the purpose of growing your own aravos? *shrug* – MTL Aug 8 '18 at 23:25
  • Why would trimming them invalidate them? Isn’t that how you get your branches to stick in your lulav? – DonielF Aug 9 '18 at 3:36
  • נקטם ראשו is passul. You can trim the bottom of the branches, not the tip. – MTL Aug 16 '18 at 15:15

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