Witch-Hazels or Hamamelis – Spring Is Coming!

  • Post published:02/23/2023
  • Post comments:6 Comments
Hamamelis virginiana

There was a time when I never imagined that flowers grew in the winter. But now I love visiting golden witch hazel (mostly) flowers in early February. There are about 12 types of witch hazels, but even so, there are more types of color in these shrubs.  I am not sure of the name of this shaggy yellow blossom, but I think it is Hamamelis virginiana.

Hamamelis vernalis

This red witch hazel has sometimes bloomed with yellow as well as the red.  You can never count on these being very similar each year.  The shape of the shrubs are very familiar in our neighborhood. They are about 10 or 15 feet tall in a familiar shape. There are other varieties that sometimes take the shape of a small tree with arching branches growing as high as 30 feet and as wide as 20 feet. I have not seen these. I’d love to see even more different types and colors of witch hazels.

I just learned that early Europeans noticed that Native Americans used witch hazel and forked tree limbs for dowsing, which was a way to find underground sources of water.

I do not have any witch hazel shrubs, in good part because these shrubs need well drained but moist soil, which is one thing that we do not have.  We continue to get more compost and mulch from the Martin’s Farm.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Jeane

    I would like to grow witch hazel- there are many native ones in my area, but my yard has compact clay soil so I don’t know if they’d be happy here.

  2. Beth@PlantPostings

    Fascinating shrubs. I really should add one/some to the garden.

  3. Pat

    Jeane – I checked (I always check) and confirmed that Witch hazel should grow in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils. It tolerates a variety of moisture conditions. Because of my wet yard, we have created lots! of good soils to create raised beds.

  4. Pat

    Beth – Witch hazels really are beautiful and have a long period of beauty.

  5. Pat, I have Hamamelis virginiana growing along the side of my driveway (where there is water in an old stream bed in spring, providing it with needed moisture). That species blooms in late fall; what you have in bloom is more likely Hamamelis vernalis.

  6. Pat

    Jean – Thank you for the correction. I have to confess that I got confused with the different varieties. I will make the change to Hamamelis vernalis happily.

Leave a Reply