Witch Hazel Season

In early January it is always lovely to walk out into a garden and discover flowers beginning to open on plants. This week the flowers on witch hazel at home really caught my eye as I took a walk around to see how everything was doing after the Christmas break.

Early spring is really witch hazel season in my eyes as I find the plant is at its best now when it is covered in bright flowers. While the plant does offer some great autumn interest when the leaves turn colour, this really fails in comparison to the impact the red or yellow flowers have during the dull days of spring.

Witch Hazel does have good autumn colour too. Image source: Mark Ahlness Flicker
Witch Hazel does have good autumn colour too. Image source: Mark Ahlness Flicker

The perfect shrub for a pop of colour

I always find that witch hazel is extremely popular with customers in CountryLife when we have it in stock. At this time of year many people will take a look around their own gardens and decide they need more colour in it so set off on a mission to find something in the garden center that will add that needed pop of colour.

Witch Hazel add a vibrant pop of colour into a garden. Image source: Image by Hans Bijstra from Pixabay
Witch Hazel add a vibrant pop of colour into a garden. Image source: Image by Hans Bijstra from Pixabay

Witch hazel is always one of the first plants I recommend to people who come up to me in the garden center with this problem.

A large to medium size garden is ideal for Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is a must have shrub in my eyes for anyone with a medium to large garden where it can be allowed to grow in to a good sized shrub.

It can of course be planted in a smaller garden too but it will need to be pruned yearly to maintain the size of the shrub.

Witch Hazel are perfect for large to medium size gardens. Image source: Image by Petra Zwaan from Pixabay
Witch Hazel are perfect for large to medium size gardens. Image source: Image by Petra Zwaan from Pixabay

Pruning Witch Hazel

It is important to remember though if you are pruning a witch hazel that it flowers on the previous year’s wood so it is best to prune it when it has finished flowers so you do not lose out on the flowers.

In our garden center we sell two different varieties of witch hazel on sale

The first is called Diane which has best red flowers in my eyes. They are a lovely deep red colour which I find really stand out in a garden at this time of year. The plant also has a beautiful scent which seems to waft all over the garden, especially in colder weather.

Diane Witch has the best red flowers
Diane Witch has the best red flowers

The second variety that is always extremely popular with customers is one called Arnold Promise. This variety is a fantastic yellow flowering witch hazel which has flowers that are around 3cm in size. The flowers generally start to appear in mid-winter and will last for a good couple of months. Both varieties work well in full shade and also in partial shade meaning they can both be very versatile in terms of where you can plant them in a garden.

Arnold Promise has a vibrant yellow flower
Arnold Promise has a vibrant yellow flower

It’s worth investing in!

Witch hazel is slightly more expensive than other shrubs you can buy but this is simply down to how the plant is propagated. You can’t take a simple cutting from witch hazel and grow it on, the cuttings have to be grafted which takes more time to do. Having spent many hours when I worked in a nursery before doing this very task I understand why they cost a little bit extra. But in general for the low maintenance plant you get in return it is a great investment to buy one.

Did you know?

Witch Hazel is not only a great looking plant in the garden but it also has some medicinal properties too. If you look closely at some of the lotions and potions that lie around your bathroom or in your wife’s make-up bag you will see it is an ingredient in many of them. Witch hazel is an astringent and anti-inflammatory compound so can help to improve the appearance of your skin.

Some beauty products contain Witch Hazel. Image source: GetTheGloss
Some beauty products contain Witch Hazel. Image source: GetTheGloss