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The Plant Guide

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Common witch hazel

Hamamelis virginiana

ham-ah-MAY-lis ver-jin-ee-AY-nah

The native common witch hazel is an understory plant that becomes leggy if it has to reach for light, but in the open, it develops into a graceful, spreading shrub about 20 feet tall. Its broad leaves turn a clear, bright yellow in the autumn. The abundance of pale yellow fall flowers that accompanies the foliage comes as a wonderful late-season surprise. The deceptively fragile-looking blossoms that appear near the end of October seem to keep winter at bay for weeks.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsGood fall color and late-season flowers.

CareProvide part shade to full sun and moist but well-drained, acidic to neutral soil in an open site. If the soil is deep and rich enough, Hamamelis can take alkaline soils. Pruning is minimal, if any.

PropagationAs soon as seeds are ripe, sow them in containers in a cold frame. Graft cultivars in late winter, or bud in late summer.

ProblemsGall aphids, leaf roller, scale insects, powdery mildew, leaf spots, wood rot.

  • Genus : Hamamelis
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Width : 10 to 15 feet
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Bloom Time : Fall
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Fall Interest
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Characteristics : Showy Fall Foliage, Showy Foliage
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Flower Color : Yellow
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