The Great British Bake Off isn’t the only host of show-stoppers. Mother Nature also offers them up and this time of year the American Witch Hazel is putting on a not to be missed show-stopper.
American Witch Hazel
The first to bloom each year, the colors are a fabulous welcome for both pollinators and people alike. If the weather remains relatively cool we should have outstanding flowering for at least two to three more weeks.
The low, lateral branches are favored by a number of bird species including wood thrushes and flycatchers, as nesting sites.
Common Name: Witch Hazel
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zones: 3 to 8
Height: 8 to 20 feet Spread: 6 to 20 feet
Bloom Time: December to Late March Flower: Showy, Fragrant Colors: Yellow or Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Tolerates: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil
Year Round Interest
Long ago Witch Hazel was known only as a winter blooming shrub. Today their winter show is merely the opening act. Newer varieties increase disease resistance and prolong the beauty of this Eastern North American native.
Spring buds cover the branches, then large green leaves emerge and create a screen all summer long. Finally, when the brisk autumn air approaches nearly every one of the traditional fall colors appear.
Witch Hazels are one of the few colorful winter plants that thrive in planters.
Strategically place Witch Hazel in containers right outside your most viewed sunny window then plant them in Spring.
Witch Hazels do well in a wide range of full to part sun locations, so finding a location to enjoy them in often not difficult. Better still, once established they require very little upkeep.
Prune before summer ends so that the following year’s buds can fully develop. Suckering twigs that form around the base should be removed.
In addition to watering the first year, Witch Hazel benefits from occasional winter watering. Meandering through the snow, watering can in hand, is an opportunity to enjoy their winter colors.