Few things are more stunning in a winter landscape than a bare-branched tree in full bloom. Prior to a hint of spring stalks, golden blossoms abound the free-branching framework of Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis). Ahead of the snow has melted and the days have extended, enjoy the colorful glow of witch hazel — a sunny landscape remedy for the wintertime blues.
Botanical name:Hamamelis mollis
Common names: Chinese witch hazel
Water necessity: Typical
Sun necessity:Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 10-20′ tall x 10-15′ disperse
Tolerances: Deer, clay soil, moderate drought
Distinguishing attributes. A multi-stemmed cosmetic that only improves with age, Chinese witch hazel is most recognized by its own explosion of winter blossoms. Starting in February and persisting for many weeks, fragrant golden poufs blanket its branches. These spider-like flowers grow most readily in sunlight and function as luminous contrasts into stark winter landscapes and smooth grey bark.
Following the tree finishes blooming, oval green leaves appear and persist well into fall. In the spring they’re dark green with a gentle grey underside and transition into a golden yellow in autumn.
How to use it. Elegant arching type and winter blossoms make this tree an obvious selection for a landscape specimen tree. Its comparatively compact footprint makes Chinese witch hazel a suitable tree for petite or urban gardens. Gather a flowering branch or two for a foraged floral arrangement.
Keep it growing. Pest-free and easy to grow, these trees are beautiful landscape investments, also well worth the time they take to mature. While they favor moist, well-drained, acidic soil of woodland gardens, they’re reasonably drought tolerant. Keep Chinese witch hazel shielded from harsh winter storms until the risk of winter frost damage has passed.
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