February Plant Of The Month - Witch Hazel

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Plant Of The Month - Witch Hazel

Our fabulous gardener Jason of Summit Gardens is here again to give his plant of the month, this time a beautiful yellow flowering shrub...

Witch Hazel

With spring just around the corner it's good to know there's still plenty of interest out there before the colour arrives en-masse. Witch hazel (Hamamelis) is one of my favourite winter shrubs producing delicate tissue-like spidery flowers borne on bare stems throughout winter. The flower colours vary from yellow to coppery orange to red, depending on the species and cultivar, and some are beautifully scented too, so it's worth doing some homework before making your choice. Red Witch Hazel flowers in winter Yellow Witch Hazel flowers in winter Witch Hazel tree winter Once the flowers have finished, hazel-like leaves appear throughout spring and summer which, in many cases, go on to produce a stunning autumnal display. Witch Hazel tree in Summer Witch Hazel tree Autumn Hamamelis
Witch hazels are classified as large shrubs or small trees, so it’s worth allowing a bit of room for them, in a sunny or partially shady spot, to develop to its full potential. They produce a natural shape which has no requirement for pruning except to remove dead, diseased or dying stems. These shrubs are best sited in moisture retentive soils, so mulching is a good idea to help retain moisture. Witch Hazel also tend to prefer a more acidic soil, so are not really suitable for chalky sites where the soil is shallow. If the conditions are good they should do very well as they are perfectly hardy. We have one of these in the show gardens at Chilstone which is currently flowering and looking lovely, I'm hoping to plant some more soon!

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