Growing Witch Hazel: How to Care for Witch Hazel in the Garden

Growing Witch Hazel: How to Care for Witch Hazel in the Garden

Hamamelis mollis (left), H. ×intermedia ‘Orange Magnificence’ (proper). Photograph by: Janet Loughrey.

A big deciduous shrub with colourful, aromatic flowers in the course of the winter, witch hazel is nearly maintenance-free and immune to most pests and illnesses. Witch hazels carry out greatest in full solar (or filtered shade in hotter areas), the place the flowers glow like fiery embers within the backlight of the low winter solar. They like well-amended soil and common water and are tolerant of acid or alkaline circumstances. Native types are hardier, whereas most hybrid cultivars develop in USDA Zones 5-8. A extra warmth tolerant selection, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’, will be grown in Zones 5-9. As soon as established, they’re nearly maintenance-free and immune to most pests and illnesses. Witch hazel extract is often used for beauty and medicinal functions.


Whereas most varieties attain 10-20 toes excessive and vast at maturity, witch hazels will be stored smaller with pruning as soon as they’re completed blooming. Prune earlier than summer time in order that the next yr’s buds can develop. Suckering twigs that type across the base ought to be eliminated. As soon as new flower buds seem, branches will be reduce and compelled to bloom inside.


There are 4 essential sorts:

(Hamamelis virginiana)

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Zones: 4-8

Mature measurement: As much as 20’ tall and vast

Bloom time: October to December

These east coast native shrubs or small timber are generally present in wooded areas from Canada to Georgia. Clusters of citrus-scented petals seem in late fall earlier than the leaves have dropped. Recognized for its medicinal properties, the bark extract is used as a time-honored treatment for a wide range of pores and skin and different bodily illnesses.

(Hamamelis vernalis)

Zones: 4-8

Mature measurement: As much as 10’ tall and 15’ vast

Bloom time: January to April

Native to Missouri and Arkansas, that is probably the most shrub-like species. Its yellow or crimson flowers are small, however profuse and seem between January and April.

(Hamamelis japonica)

Zones: 5-8

Mature measurement: As much as 15’ tall and vast

Bloom time: January to March

The Japanese varieties have showy yellow or crimson flowers.

(Hamamelis mollis)

Zones: 5-8

Mature measurement: As much as 15’ tall and vast

Bloom time: January to March

Essentially the most aromatic of all species, Chinese language varieties begins blooming as early as January and has buttery yellow petals and clear yellow fall foliage.

Hybrids of Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese language witch hazel (H. mollis), which bloom from mid-late winter, have been bred for enhanced qualities of flowers (bigger and higher colour), intense perfume and good fall foliage.


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Photograph by: Janet Loughrey.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Jelena’, broadly considered top-of-the-line all-around cultivars, has an ideal vase-shaped construction, intensely-fragrant orange flowers and fiery fall colour.

Photograph by: Janet Loughrey.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Aphrodite’ is a show-stopper, with exceptionally massive burnt-orange flowers that bloom profusely in late winter.

Photograph by: Janet Loughrey.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Diane’ is the usual of red-flowered varieties, with vibrant fall foliage of crimson, orange, purple and yellow. ‘Diane’ is extra warmth tolerant than different varieties and will be grown in Zones 5-9.

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Photograph by: Janet Loughrey.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Fireplace Attraction’ has scented red-orange flowers and coppery fall colour.

Photograph by: Hans-Roland Müller / botanikfoto.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Primavera’. Accessible since 1969, this upright grower blooms from late January into March. Its honey-yellow flowers have a vivid, wealthy scent.

Photograph by: Steffen Hauser / botanikfoto.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Orange Magnificence’. Wider than it’s excessive at maturity-12 toes by 10 feet-the Orange Magnificence’s deeply pigmented flowers have a powerful odor and are deer resistant.

Photograph by: Wiert Nieuman / Shutterstock.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Birgit’. Most measurement is 12 toes vast by 15 toes excessive. Darkish crimson flowers are smaller than these of different witch hazel varieties and emit a light perfume.

Photograph by: Wiert Nieuman / Shutterstock.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Rochester’. Most measurement is 9 toes vast by 9 toes excessive. Copper-orange flowers bloom early and provides off a powerful, spicy scent not in contrast to that of tuberose.

Photograph by: Steffen Hauser / botanikfoto.

Hamamelis mollis ‘Brevipetala’. A vase-shaped upright that may attain 12 toes vast by 12 toes excessive. Yellow blooms flourish in full solar and might flower from January by means of March.

Photograph by: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH / Shutterstock.

Hamamelis ×intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’. Shrubs develop 20 toes excessive and are heavy bloomers, producing strongly scented yellow flowers into March.


  • Witch hazels require a winter chill to achieve full flowering.
  • In addition they want summer time water.
  • Mulching is helpful for retaining moisture.


  • Companion vegetation equivalent to hellebores, winter heath, and bulbs of hardy cyclamen and snowdrop will be naturalized across the base. To increase seasonal curiosity into summer time, smaller types of clematis equivalent to C. viticella are engaging when educated by means of the branches.
  • The spidery flowers and heady perfume are greatest appreciated when sited close to a doorway or well-used pathway.
  • Scott Canning, director of horticulture at Wave Hill, recommends siting them for optimum wintertime drama: put them in a spot the place they will be backlit within the afternoon and the nice and cozy solar will encourage their flowers and scent to unfurl.


Will witch hazel develop in shade?

As pure understory vegetation, many will do wonderful partly shade. Nonetheless, extra solar results in an extended and higher bloom. Heavy shade causes leggy progress and lackluster flowers. The best rising state of affairs is morning solar, with mild shade in the course of the sizzling afternoon.

Can witch hazel be grown in pots?

In yards with restricted house, witch hazels will thrive in containers for a few years, although they are going to finally must be planted within the floor. Containers ought to be stored moist and the roots protected throughout excessive chilly spells.

Is witch hazel deer resistant?

Though not deer resistant, most sources label them as seldom severely broken. In different phrases, they aren’t a deer’s favourite meals, however they are going to eat them every so often. When witch hazels are younger, you may shield them with rooster wire and probably even a deer repellent.

Why is my witch hazel not flowering?

Witch hazels are often pretty reliable bloomers. Nonetheless, the climate can change their bloom time, leaving you confused. As well as, these which might be too younger won’t flower, in addition to these in deep shade, or these careworn by bugs or illness.


The American Indians first found that witch hazel bark, boiled right into a tea or combined with animal fat right into a poultice, has therapeutic qualities. A pure astringent, it soothes irritated pores and skin and shrinks infected tissues, and is a key element of the whole lot from facial cleansers to pore-tightening merchandise, aftershave lotions, and hemorrhoid pads.

Witch hazel extract has been used for beauty and medicinal functions for a few years.

In truth, witch hazel extract is alleged to be probably the most broadly used botanical on this planet, outstripping even the ever present aloe. Nonetheless, even the world’s largest producer and distributor of witch hazel extracts, American Distilling in East Hampton, Connecticut, depends on wild witch hazel as its uncooked ingredient for these merchandise. It’s harvested sustainably, largely on state lands, by cutters whose households have been concerned with the enterprise for generations. Naked twigs and branches are lopped within the chilly months, chipped, after which steam-distilled on the manufacturing facility, the place the extract is usually preserved with alcohol. American Distilling is now experimenting with witch hazel perfumes constructed from the aromatic flowers. However to date, the consensus amongst those that’ve tried them is that the invigorating scent could also be simply too highly effective to dab on a wrist or the nape of a neck.

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