American Witch-hazel

Witch-hazel plant

Witch-hazel is a Burst of Fall Colour

Graceful and delicate American witch-hazel is the perfect addition to any yard needing a splash of fall colour. Bidding farewell to the growing season with showy, yellow leaves, witch-hazel also waits until fall to display spidery, yellow blooms, reminiscent of curled orange peels. You’ll enjoy their light, spicy fragrance, while a few remaining pollinators browse for nectar before the cold weather sets in.

Grown as a small tree or a large shrub, witch-hazel’s branches sweep toward the sky, sometimes reaching low first to lift the canopy from below. Reaching three to five metres tall in most urban landscapes, it’s perfectly suited to a small, shady area or a mixed woodland planting with oak, sugar maple, serviceberry or dogwood. Wild ginger, Christmas fern and many spring ephemerals can be added below, being careful not to damage witch-hazel’s shallow roots.

Growing naturally in sandier soils with high organic content, witch-hazel will also tolerate clay soils. But you may want to add some compost and leaf litter and top up with leaf or shredded bark mulch to keep soils moist. Trees and shrubs can be planted until early November, so consider adding this to your yard now or next spring. Planting in fall will offer a graceful multi-stemmed silhouette for the winter.

Photo: F Delventhal

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