Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)
Common name: Witch hazel
The witch hazels are grown principally for their winter, adding colour to the garden at a particularly bleak time. Some take on good autumn colour before the leaves fall. Flowers are produced in clusters held on leafless branches, and have a rather strange spidery appearance.
Popular species and varieties
Many of those grown are varieties of x intermedia. Among them are ‘Arnold Promise’ (AGM), with large yellow flowers in mid-winter; ‘Diane’ (AGM), a deep bronzy-red; ‘Orange Beauty’ a deep rich yellow, and ‘Jelena’ (AGM), sometimes listed as ‘Copper Beauty’, with very attractive coppery-orange flowers.
The(Hamamelis molls) (AGM) flowers at the same time. This forms a neat shrub with soft, slightly hairy leaves. The flowers are golden yellow and fragrant. There are a number of named varieties: ‘Goldcrest’ is a good choice; its flowers slightly later The rich golden-yellow blooms are tinged with red at their base. The foliage turns yellow in the autumn.
Soil type Neutral or acid soils are best, especially those that are moisture-retentive. The structure of heavy soils should be improved by incorporating some peat, leaf mould or well-rotted manure at planting time.
Planting Choose a sunny, sheltered spot. Plant in autumn or spring.
Maintenance Pruning is not required. Any straggly branches growing on mature specimens can be cut back after flowering.
Propagation Long shoots are flexible, and can be layered in late summer. Cuttings of around 10cm (4in) in length, with a heel, can be taken in late summer. They are slow and difficult to root.
Pests and diseases Usually no problems are experienced with witch hazels.