Witch Hazel or Hamamelis is a scented winter-flowering shrub. The spicy fragrance and spidery flowers in yellow, orange or red make it a must for the winter garden.
Where to Plant Witch Hazel
- Do not plant young shrubs in a frost pocket even though plants are hardy.
- Witch Hazel like an open sunny position and need space to develop all be it slowly.
- Avoid exposed and windy positions.
- Clay soil needs improving with added humus and drainage.
- Acid or neutral soils are best but chlorotic yellow leaves can be treated and fed with chelated iron.
On Going Cultivation
- Water young plants during dry spells.
- Propagation is from budding to root stock. It is difficult to grow from cuttings.
- Witch Hazel needs little pruning provided there is room to let them grow freely to their full size.
- Prune out any dead or damaged wood and any congested, crossing or weak shoots.
- Remove suckers in autumn as these will probably be from the rootstock plant.
RHS Recommended Varieties
H. x intermedia ‘Diane’ AGM: The finest red flowered witch hazel. It has a long flowering period throughout midwinter and is lightly scented. Height 2.5m (8ft). Spread 3m (10ft).
H. x intermedia ‘Jelena’ AGM: One of the best cultivars, unscented coppery orange flowers appear in early to mid-winter. Height 4m (13ft). Spread 4m (13ft).
H. x intermedia ‘Pallida’ AGM: Thought to be the best sulphur-yellow cultivar for garden use. Height 3m (10ft). Spread 4m (13ft).
H. mollis ‘Wisley Supreme’: Flowering in January, it has a good scent and bright yellow flowers. Height 3m (10ft). Spread 3m (10ft).
H. virginiana: Bears yellow, scented flowers in mid-late autumn, rather than in winter. Height 4m (13ft). Spread 4m (13ft).