Witch hazels perform best when planted in a moist but well-drained, loamy, acidic soil. They do not flourish in heavy, wet, and compacted soils and are subject to drought stress. Remember to allow them the room to reach 15 feet tall and wide after 20 years. Selective pruning of branches can maintain a smaller size. This should be done after flowering but before summer so that flower buds for the following year can form. Flowering is most profuse when the trees are grown in full sun and mulched to keep the roots cool. Flower size and the duration of bloom are likely to be reduced during years with hot, dry springs. Deer will eat witch hazels, and some cultivars may be susceptible to leaf blights and mildew.
Hybrid witch hazels are generally hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 7. North and west of Chicago, harsh winters and alkaline soils are likely to make growing them a challenge. Conversely, gardeners living along Zones 7b to 8b can find warm winters to be a problem. All witch hazels need a chilling period of a certain minimum number of hours below 45°F before they will flower. Instead of flowering in late winter, southern plants can be delayed until spring is well underway, at which time the floral display is likely to be brief, partial, and outperformed by companion plantings. Chilling requirements are variable in cultivars, and those with the shortest chill periods probably will perform better in the Deep South.