In the dead of winter, it is indeed a treat to see the vibrant tones of Hamamelis flowers dancing on unique zigzagging branches. Bright yellow, orange or red spidery flowers have a spicy fragrance that is enough to warm you from nose to toes!
Witchhazels develop nice green leaves where the crinkles of the veins look as though someone folded them perfectly across an axis. Autumn may really be the beginning of the season for Hamamelis however, because their leaves turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, red or purple before falling to reveal their unique architectural structure.
Hamamelis x intermedia
This is a large group of Witchhazels created by breeding Hamamelis mollis with Hamamelis japonica. All varieties grow 12-15' tall and often wider. Sun-part shade, Zone 5.
Common varieties of Hamamelis x intermedia include:
Varieties of Hamamelis x intermedia include:
- ‘Arnold Promise’ - yellow flowers with fall colors yellow, orange and red. 'Arnold Promise' has a more upright vase shape where other types have a graceful open habit.
- ‘Diane’ - dark red flowers with fall colors reds to purple.
- ‘Jelena’ - pronounced Helena - usually the first to open - coppery orange flowers with orange, red to scarlet fall color.
- ‘Orange Beauty’ - coppery orange flowers with orange, red to scarlet fall color.
- ‘Primavera’ - light yellow flowers with yellow orange fall color.
- ‘Sunburst’ - radiant yellow flowers with yellow fall color.
Sweetly fragrant rich gold flowers with reddish brown sepals bloom on bare branches in January-February. Excellent for winter arrangements. Green leaves turn pure gold before falling in autumn.
Hamamelis mollis ‘Pallida’ Large pale yellow flower with delicious fragrance in winter. Red, orange leaves in fall. Vase shaped large shrub to 8-10' - Z6
Hamamelis virginiana Common Witchhazel
Small fragrant golden yellow flowers appear in autumn. 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 and slow growth. This is the source of medicinal Witchhazel.
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 flowers in winter. Hamamelis virginiana blooms in autumn before leaves fall. Each flower has four slender strap-shaped petals 1-2 cm long, pale to dark yellow, orange, or red.
Size: 10-25’ tall depending on species - Hamamelis grows in an upright vase shape and is often wider than tall. It can be 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.