Herein, we report the high density growth of lead seeded germanium nanowires (NWs) and their development into branched nanowire networks suitable for application as lithium ion battery anodes. The synthesis of the NWs from lead seeds occurs simultaneously in both the liquid zone (solution–liquid–solid (SLS) growth) and solvent rich vapor zone (vapor–liquid–solid (VLS) growth) of a high boiling point solvent growth system. The reaction is sufficiently versatile to allow for the growth of NWs directly from either an evaporated catalyst layer or from pre-defined nanoparticle seeds and can be extended to allowing extensive branched nanowire formation in a secondary reaction where these seeds are coated onto existing wires. The NWs are characterized using TEM, SEM, XRD and DF-STEM. Electrochemical analysis was carried out on both the single crystal Pb–Ge NWs and the branched Pb–Ge NWs to assess their suitability for use as anodes in a Li-ion battery. Differential capacity plots show both the germanium wires and the lead seeds cycle lithium and contribute to the specific capacity that is approximately 900 mAh g−1 for the single crystal wires, rising to approximately 1100 mAh g−1 for the branched nanowire networks.