Witch Hazel

Deciduous shrubs (or small trees), simple leaf with toothed margins, spider-like flowers occur in clusters in autumn or early spring, sometimes fragrant, in yellows and reds; attractive autumn foliage.


Border, shrubbery, specimen tree, woodland garden plant


Prefers a moist sandy loam but adapts to other freely draining soils, add organic matter to heavy clay soils; prefers a sunny position with shelter from cold winds; will tolerate air pollution. Prune for shape after flowering. 


Layering in early autumn and detach after two years, occasionally grafting is used for named varieties onto H. virginiana rootstock. Alternatively, take 12cm cuttings of lateral shoots in early autumn and keep in a cold frame. Misting or bottom heat to 16 degrees C may help. Seeds may be sown in early autumn under a cold frame.


Six species and a range of cultivars including:

H. x intermedia: Often considered a hybrid of H. japonica and H. mollis, large shrubs with large leaves and crinkly, twisted yellow flowers.

H. japonica (Japanese Witch Hazel): To 10 metres tall, twisted yellow flowers, usually with red-purple in centre. Glossy, ovate leaves are smaller than H. mollis.

H. mollis (Chinese Witch Hazel): To 10 metres tall, golden yellow flowers with purplish-red centres. Mid-green, felt-like, obovate leaves turn yellow in autumn.

Plant Health

Hardy; largely pest and disease-free.

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