Adding Color to Your Winter Garden: How Witch Hazel Shrubs Can Help
Witch Hazel Shrub
The witch hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana) is a small deciduous tree with fragrant yellow blossoms. Mature Witch Hazel Shrubs can reach a height of 30 feet, with a typical width of 15 feet. Witch hazel shrubs are known both for their vibrant color and fragrance.
virginiana is the most prolific of the five North American witch hazels. It's found from Nova Scotia down the East Coast to Florida and back up the coast as far as Texas.
Most witch hazel shrubs produce blossoms in warm colors. Typically, the flowers are yellow to orange, with pinks and reds possible depending on the weather and growing conditions.
Witch hazel flowers, which look like delicate golden ribbons, are among the most cold-tolerant in North America. That makes them an ideal addition to garden settings that need a burst of color over the winter.
Witch Hazel Growing Requirements
Witch hazel grows best in USDA Zones 3-9, meaning it can adapt to life in much of the United States. The shrubs accept moist or dry soil and grow well in partial shade or full sun. Witch hazel shrubs are tolerant of acidic soil.
Care is minimal; after regular watering during its first season, a witch hazel shrub only needs to be pruned as desired by the grower.
Growers have no significant pest or disease to consider when planting. These shrubs are even known to tolerate some wild animal grazing.
How to Grow Witch Hazel Shrubs
You can start a witch hazel shrub in a pot, but its size will require rooting in the soil over time.
Though adaptable to many conditions, witch hazel shrubs thrive in a specific environment.
Growers interested in brightly colored flowers and an intense aroma should provide acidic, well-draining soil and direct sunlight. It's best if the plant is grown in a zone with a good winter chill - this will lead to the brightest possible blossoms in late winter.
Adding mulch to the soil around witch hazel helps with water retention and guarantees an ideally moist soil.
Witch Hazel Uses
Native Americans cultivated witch hazel for its medicinal properties. It's used to treat inflammation and pain.
You can still find witch hazel extract at your neighborhood pharmacy, labeled as an astringent and treatment for eczema, rashes, burns, and insect bites.