Witch hazels are vigorous small trees and shrubs with sweet-scented red, orange, or yellow flowers. Bloom time ranges from fall to late winter, and lasts up to a month, depending on the species or cultivar. Despite their wispy, twisted, ribbonlike appearance, flowers are remarkably durable, tolerating temperatures in the low 20s for several days. Native to Asia and North America, this genus contains five species and close to 100 cultivars.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsFragrant flowers in fall to late winter.
CarePrefers moist but well-drained, loamy, acidic to neutral soil in full sun to partial shade. Plant in spring or fall and give them plenty of room, since they can reach up to 15 feet in height and width. Prune after flowering but before summer to allow next year's buds to form. Flowering is most profuse when grown in full sun. Protect from deer.
PropagationGraft cultivars in late winter, or bud in late summer.
ProblemsGall aphids, leaf roller, and scale insects, powdery mildew, leaf spots, and wood rot.