Witch Hazels are one of our favorite shrubs at this time of year, as they cheer up these late winter days with their bright fringey blooms, and repeat the show all over again in the fall with spectacular leaf color.
Most Witch Hazels have a nice open form that is sculptural even when bare in winter. Their vase-shaped growth habit also provides a nice opportunity to use other plants at their base. Flowers unfurl in February and continue through March, with the textured leaves emerging afterwards. The thick leaves provide a great contrast with softer leaved plants like ferns, Euphorbias, or Geraniums.
Witch Hazels are not the first choice for a hot spot in your yard, even though you will read that they will tolerate full sun (and you will see them looking spectacular in downtown Ashland in full sun). However, they will be prone to leaf burn and you will be watering more often if they are placed in full sun. Morning sun or at least half a day of sun is best. They also look wonderful in a wooded shade garden, just make sure they get some bright light for the best flower production and fall color.
Witch Hazels do best with regular water; deep soaks throughout the summer months and with a fertile, humus-rich soil. They are also generally deer resistant - we have seen them untouched in Ashland - but try one out first to make sure.
Here are some of the varieties we generally carry (check our current retail availability for details):
'Amethyst' - Rounded shrub, 8' to 10' tall. with reddish-purple flowers
'Arnold's Promise'- Vase shaped with fragrant yellow flowers and yellow fall color
'Diane'- Rounded form with red flowers and orange-red fall color
'Jelena'- vase shaped vigorous grower with very fragrant large copper-orange flowers and orange-yellow fall color
'Sunburst'- upright, with lemon yellow blooms up to 1 inch long, early bloomer and yellow-orange fall color