Bewitching Witch hazel

Fri. Mar. 1, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Bewitching Witch hazel

My mom used to use witch hazel on bites and rashes… that was a long time ago!

But Witch Hazel is really a beautiful shrub too.  I hadn’t really thought about it until seeing a cultivar called ‘Jelena’.

Witch hazel ‘Jelena’ by Doreen Wynja

While this particular cultivar is listed as zone 5, some are hardy to zone 3.  Those would be the Common Witch hazel or ham-ah-MAY-lis ver-jin-ee-AY-nah. It’s ribbon-like flowers are yellow and bloom in Fall.   They look a bit like gingko leaves.

Common Witch Hazel
Common witch hazel leaves

‘Jelena’ is a late winter/early spring bloomer with coppery petals all bunched up around a red center. Other adjectives to describe the flowers include, spidery and crinkled.  

Witch hazel prefer part shade to full sun and moist but well-drained, acidic to neutral soil. If you live in a colder climate and plant the zone 5 cultivar, then place it in a more protected spot.  As always, keep in mind it’s mature measurements as you plant!

If the soil is deep and rich enough, Hamamelis, it’s Latin name, can take alkaline soils. Pruning is minimal, if any.  The Chicago Botanic Garden has a great article too, Which witch hazel should be in your yard?

‘Arnold promise’ is a zone 5 cultivar as well, but in a protected area would be worth a try!

Witch hazel ‘Arnold Promise’ flowers
Witch hazel ‘Arnold Promise’ fall color