Maryland Native plants for winter: Hamamelis virginiana – Witch hazel

Nov 16, 2023 | Blog, Native Plant Spotlight

Winter Blooming Beauty

Hamamelis virginiana – Witch hazel

Hamamelis virginiana - Witch-hazel


Hamamelis virginiana, commonly known as witch hazel, is a fall to winter blooming, deciduous shrub or small tree that is native to woodlands, forest margins and stream banks. The blooms are a fragrant and bright yellow that grow in clusters, each with four crinkly, ribbon-shaped petals. The blooms appear along the branches from October to December usually after leaf drop but sometimes at the time of fall color. Flowers are attractive to pollinators and fertilized flowers will form greenish seed capsules that mature to light brown. Foliage displays shades of yellow in fall.

Plant as a specimen or use for screening in shrub borders. Grows best in medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Can tolerate significant shade but will be airy in appearance. Best flowering occurs in full sun. Prefers moist, organically rich soils, but will tolerate heavy clay soils.

LGS Notes:

Hamamelis virginiana is one of the plants I recommend for gardens that need some winter interest. I also suggest it for gardens that have an apiary since the flowers are around when nothing else is in bloom.” – Ari
“Witch hazel is an important nectar source for native bees. It provides food when there is little else blooming on warm winter days” – Perri

Common Name: common witch hazel
Type: Deciduous shrub
Native Range: Eastern North America, MD (Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal)
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to December
Bloom Description: Yellow sometimes tinged with orange or red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall color
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil
(Information from Missouri Botanical Garden)
Witch hazel foliage

Witch hazel foliage

Witch hazel blossoms

Witch hazel blossoms

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