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Monday, 22 March 2010

Hamamelis Witch Hazel first flowering shrubs of Spring

How to grow Hamamelis Mollis
Hamamelis is probably one the earliest flowering shrubs that can fill Winter weary eyes with warmth and colour like no other. Especially given that it begins blooming spider like flowers that give off a slightly scented subtle fragrance, as early as chilly February. It is commonly called Witch Hazel. There are different varieties with colours of yellow, red and orange.
How to Grow Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Mollis  the yellow blooming shrub is probably the most commonly planted here in Britain
 Small black berries usually appear after flowering followed by greyish green leaves through the summer which fall in Autumn. It is the very early Winter-Spring flowers which gives this otherwise unremarkable shrub it's interest, but what a show they are, drawing the eye from an otherwise bleak Winter garden.
How to prune Witch Hazel
The shrub belongs to the Hamamelidaceae family of flowering plants, which is made up of almost all shrubs and small trees of approx 90 species native across Southeast Asia, North America and China.  The origin of the witch hazel name is thought to come from the Old English word 'wyche' meaning a tree with pliant branches. . Indeed the stems of witch hazel as well as common European hazel are very bendy and have been used for water divining a somewhat mystical method of finding underground water springs.
First flowering shrubs of Spring Witch Hazel
Ideally witch hazel hamamelis shrubs prefer a rich loam on the acidic side (PH 5.5-6.5) but will  tolerate slightly more alkaline conditions. Equally happy in full sun or partial shade this hardy shrub can grow to approx 12ft x 12ft unchecked.  Pruning is minimal as this shrub is a slow grower, just trim to shape as soon as flowering has finished in the spring. Witch hazel is best planted in Autumn. As with all shrubs soak the root ball prior to planting. Dig a hole twice the size of the pot or bare root and add in plenty of compost and fish blood and bone meal. Keep watered through the summer months in the shrubs first year.
Orange Witch Hazel first flowering shrubs of Spring
 Different Coloured witch hazel hamamelis varieties are available. Hamamelis mollis  is yellow whilst Hamamelis x intermedia Aphrodite for example is orange.
Orange coloured witch hazel
Pictures top: 1 Hurstbourne village church. 2-5 witch hazel hamamelis .  General discussion and your views are welcome please say hello. I regret however because of my busy schedule, I am unable to answer many questions. Sneaky advertising will be deleted sorry. Thanks so much for visiting my blog today.


the Mrs. said...

How hardy are these through bitter winters? And is there fragrance stong or mild? Thanks, Simon!

simon tinks davis said...

Hello. The Royal Horticultural society describes this shrub as fully hardy. Certainly in my own experience it has proved to be very robust surviving frost and snow quite easily in all but the most exposed places. With regard to the fragrance, I would say it is mild, certainly not as strong as the Daphne another spring flowerer. Hope this answers your questions. Thanks so much and with kind regards, Simon.

HappyMouffetard said...

They're beautiful with the sun shining through them, aren't they?

simon tinks davis said...

Hello, Yes they certainly are. When I see those first blooms I know spring is not far off...a great feeling. Thanks for your comment. Regards, Simon.

Barbarapc said...

Grows in Canada and survives to -20C. At least mine have....

simon tinks davis said...

Hello Barbara, My goodness that's really cold. Your comment certainly answers any 'hardy' questions. Many thanks, Simon.

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