In later winter it is a rarity to see such vibrancy dancing on uniquely zigzagged branches. Witchhazels are one of the most architecturally sculpted trees when in bloom. The spicy fragrance is enough to get your bones warm in crispy weather.
On a winter day your senses light up with enjoyment to the arrays of radiant yellow, coppery orange, or dark red flowers to be viewed on an otherwise bleak winter landscape. It’s like life awakens from a deep sleep to a bright path ahead.
In summer most Witchhazels have a nice bluish green leaf where the crinkles of the veins look as though someone folded them perfectly across an axis. In fall many species continue to amaze me with their show of brilliant yellows, purples, oranges and reds mixed with greens. Be sure to include a Witchhazel as an element for a shrub border or an artistic specimen.
Hamamelis x intermedia
Hybrids between H. mollis and H. japonica. The most popular of all Witchhazels. Fragrant winter blooming cultivars are known for their vibrancy of blooms and fall colors. They can reach 12-15’ tall and wide. Often grafted.
Varieties of Hamamelis x intermedia include:
- ‘Arnold Promise’ Yellow flowers with fall colors yellow, orange and red.
- ‘Carmine Red’ Light red flowers with fall colors of red to orange.
- ‘Diane’ Dark red flowers with fall colors reds to purple.
- ‘Fire Charm’ Coppery red flowers with fiery red fall color.
- ‘Fire Cracker’ Orange red flowers with red and yellow fall color.
- ‘Glowing Embers’ Flowers yellow at tip red at base
- ‘Jelena’ Coppery orange flowers with orange, red to scarlet fall color.
- ‘Moonlight’ Pale yellow flowers and pure yellow fall color.
- ‘Orange Beauty’ Coppery orange flowers with orange, red to scarlet fall color.
- ‘Primavera’ Light yellow flowers with yellow orange fall color.
- ‘Ruby Glow’ Coppery red flowers with scarlet fall color.
- ‘Sunburst’ Radiant yellow flowers with yellow fall color.
H. japonica Japanese Witchhazel
Much like the H. x intermedia, but upright and tree like. Small lightly scented flowers in winter. Native to Japan. ‘Zuccariniana’ – pale yellow flowers
H. Mollis Chinese Witchhazel
Moderately slow growing shrub to 8-10 tall and wide or in many many years to 30’. Sweetly fragrant 11/2” rich golden yellow flowers with reddish brown sepals. Blooms on bare branches in January-February. Green leaves turn pure gold before falling in autumn. Excellent for winter arrangements. Native to China.
‘Pallida’ Large pale yellow flower with delicious fragrance in winter. Red, orange leaves in fall. Vase shaped large shrub to 8-10' - Z6
H. vernalis Ozark Witchhazel
Multi stemmed suckering shrub to 6-10’ tall spreading even wider. Small fragrant yellow to orange flowers. Blooms from winter to spring. Bright yellow fall color hold for several weeks in favorable weather. Native from central to southern United States.
H. virginiana Commom Witchhazel
Small fragrant golden yellow flowers appear in fall. Their flowers sometimes get lost in yellow to orange fall color. Grows slowly to 10-15’ tall and wide sometimes to 25’ tall. Open spreading habit. Slow growing. This is the source of liniment witch hazel.
Common Name: Witchhazel
Native: North America, Japan, and China
Foliage: The leaves are alternately arranged, oval, 4-16 cm long and 3-11 cm broad, with a smooth or wavy margin. In fall most species perform a spectacular fall show of reds, yellows and oranges
Flowers: Perfect, fragrant spider like petals. Long lasting, generically winter blooming H. virginiana performs in fall. Each flower has four slender strap-shaped petals 1-2 cm long, pale to dark yellow, orange, or red.
Twig: Young stems zigzag, slightly fuzzy, older stems smooth
Bark: Smooth gray to grayish brown
Size: 8-25’ tall Medium to large shrub also considered a small tree.
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Prefers moist well drained acidic soil, avoid extremely dry situations
Disease: None serious
Hardiness: Zone 3b to 8(9)
Pruning: Prune after bloom; it is recommended to prune to guide growth, remove poorly placed branches and suckers from below the graft. Also can be a favorite as a winter cut flower.