Posted on: January 17, 2020 | Written By: Doug Oster |
Spidery red flowers of witch hazel light up the winter garden. ‘Diane’ is a star shining through the tan and brown din of dormant plants. It’s covered in blooms during a warmer than normal January.
Besides Helleborus niger, it’s the only other thing flowering in my landscape. This is the second year for the plant and this season’s blooms are more spectacular than last year’s. I wish I would have planted one of these small trees years ago. It bloomed in mid February last season.
Witch hazel can get 30 feet tall, but many will stay in bounds at 10 or 20 feet. They hate clay soil, preferring good garden loam, but are adaptable to a variety of conditions. There are straight cultivars and hybrids. This article highlights 22 varieties were compared against each other. They will grow in full sun to part shade. Mine gets about four hours of sun in the afternoon and is happy.
Native varieties are often seen thriving on the banks of lakes and can bloom as early as October. In tough winters, I’ve seed the deer nibble on the buds, so the plants
Once the plant is in place it’s pretty much disease and insect free and grows slowly to maturity.
This article from the Old Farmer’s Almanac explains how to use the tree to make medicinal witch hazel.
The spectacular show they provide during the heart of winter makes witch hazel a wonderful addition to the landscape. I’m going to be looking for some other interesting cultivars to add to the garden. When those flowers are blooming it gets me excited to plan for next winter’s show.
Doug Oster is editor of Everybody Gardens, a website operated by 535Media, LLC. Reach him at 412-965-3278 or email@example.com. See other stories, videos, blogs, tips and more at everybodygardens.com.
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