Magical Witch Hazels

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’— Russet-orange flowers in late winter

Witch Hazels are absolutely magical — they light up the late winter landscape with blooms that last several weeks filling the air with an intoxicating aroma that pervades the entire garden. The richly colored airy flowers range from butter yellow, brilliant canary, rich burgundy, russet-brick, to even a silvery purple.
 
Witch Hazels need to be planted in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Allow for plenty of growth as they can reach 12-15’ at maturity. Since they bloom so early in the season, it is important to prune after flowering to keep the plant contained and in proportion to your garden. These shrubs need to be kept well-watered during dry spells in the summer–mulching around the base of these plants will help to retain beneficial moisture.
 
The witch hazel genus has several members. The American native Hamamelis virginiana has yellow flowers that bloom in late Fall. It is also the source for the natural skin astringent and other medicinal uses. Thomas Dickinson built the first witch hazel distillery in 1866 in Essex, CT.
 
Hamamelis x intermedia represents Asian hybrids of Hamamelis japonica and H mollis. They are remarkably hardy often blooming through snow and late frosts. These witch hazels are relatively disease resistant and maintenance free turning with foliage that turns glorious colors in the Autumn. They are especially wonderful planted in front of a backdrop of evergreens. Winter blooming, enticing fragrance and wonderful flower color makes witch hazels a must for every home landscape.
 

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