Witch-hazel, flower-bearing and original

Witch-hazel is a dazzling shrub that blooms in winter, as early as January.

Witch-hazel facts, a summary

NameHamamelis
FamilyHamamelidaceae
Type – shrub

Height – 6 ½ to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – rather rich

Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – January to March

Pruning and caring are practices that will enhance blooming and growth.

Planting witch-hazel

The planting of witch-hazel is preferably performed in fall to promote root development before winter.

For plants purchased in pots or containers, you can plant in other seasons than fall as long as both hot and cold spells are avoided.

  • Witch-hazel loves the sun, especially in winter, but it abominates it if it is scorching hot in summer.
  • Light shade in the afternoon in summer is ideal for this tree.
  • If you shelter your witch-hazel from cold wind, you’ll be extending its blooming.
  • Follow our advice on planting shrubs

Planting witch-hazel in pots

If you’re lucky to have a terrace that can welcome a large pot, you’ll be able to grow witch-hazel in a container, because its slow growth makes it a good candidate to growing in such spaces.

Note also that witch hazel is particularly hardy to the cold, and so growing it in pots is all the more possible.

  • Ensure that you have proper drainage.
  • Fill the pot in with good soil mix.
  • Provide fertilizer once a year.
  • Water in case of heat wave or prolonged dry spell because plants in pots need water more often.

Caring for and pruning witch-hazel

Caring for it is easy and its hardiness makes it almost invulnerable to most diseases as it does to insect attacks or parasites.

  • No pruning is actually needed, particularly so because its growth is rather slow.
  • However, if you wish to balance or reduce the shrub, it’s rather better to wait for the blooming to end.

Watering witch-hazel

Watering is needed on a regular basis for witch-hazel when it’s hot and during the 2 first years after planting.

In winter, if it really doesn’t rain and the ground is dry, water when it isn’t freezing to ensure you’ll have proper blooming.

  • In summer, always favor watering in the evening to keep water from evaporating.
  • In winter, water during the daytime.

Nice shrubs to pair with witch-hazel

Since this tree appreciates acidic soil, feel free to pair it with heath plants with evergreen leafage such as camellia, azalea, rhododendron and heather.

It will also grow in perfect harmony with the Chinese fringe flower that also blooms in winter.

All there is to know about witch-hazel

Deep orange-red strands on these few snow-covered witch-hazel flowers.Witch-hazel flowers are remarkable thanks to their uniqueness and especially because they appear right in the middle of winter.

When the witch-hazel loses its leaves in fall, it then grows magnificent flowers with lemon-yellow colors at the beginning of January.

These flowers will then be replaced with superb deep green leaves.

Easy to care for and simple to grow, this shrub is particularly appealing when planted as a standalone, but it can also become part of a mixed hedge.

Witch-hazel is perfectly suited to growing in a small garden because of two things. First, its growth is very slow, and second, even when it has become a mature tree it is still quite small.

Lastly, let us note that it is quite invulnerable to diseases and parasites which makes it an easy tree to care for.

Health benefits of witch-hazel

Witch-hazel is now an ingredient widely used in many pharmaceutical preparations thanks to its soothing properties on skin, especially dermatitis, and its influence on blood flow, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Smart tip about witch-hazel

Mulch prepared from pine bark is a good idea.

The natural acidity the bark bequeaths favors the growth of witch-hazel and retains moisture.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Yellow witch-hazel shared by manfredrichter under © CC0 1.0
Snow on orange witch-hazel shared by schulcircus under © CC0 1.0