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Stunning healing witch hazel for a winter flowering shrub 

Lisa Garden on 03-11-2017

Whilst most pollinators are in deep slumber, the witch hazel plant is flowering in all its glory. It is one of the rare plants that have their flowering season during the cold, winter months. Witch hazel can begin to flower in early winter, depending on the variety, and it will reward you with bursts of spider-like yellow, orange or red coloured blooms. They have a heady Fragrance, spicy with a citrus tinge that will even scent your home if you cut some and bring them indoors.


Witch hazel has medicinal properties, valued for millennia 

Witch hazel has been used for many years by ancient cultures for its healing properties. It is rich in tannins which afford witch hazel drying and skin tightening properties that make it a fantastic facial cleanser as it can clean and tighten skin and reduce the size of unsightly pores. People apply witch hazel to haemorrhoids, skin irritations and cuts, to stop the bleeding. Many use it as an under eye puffiness remover by mixing it with aloe vera gel. 


How does witch hazel grow in the garden

A witch hazel plant can grow in the ground up to ten feet tall in a loose shuttlecock kind of shape. Some people prefer to keep them close to the house to enjoy their colour during the winter and pot grown witch hazel will not grow very big. They prefer a chalky soil and do not need pruning, apart from the removal of dead foliage. Witch hazel plants prefer a sunny spot as their flowers can become straggly when they live in the shade. Young plants may need the protection of horticultural fleece in their early years. 



Are witch hazel plants easy to grow from seed?

Witch hazel can be a tough plant to propagate. It may be grown from seed, or from a cutting, but a cutting will need a lot of care and usually 8 weeks for the roots to develop. The best idea, if you would like some winter colour around your home, is to pop down to your local garden centre and buy an established plant. Witch hazel comes in a variety of colours, so it is a good idea to visit a local garden centre to choose the type that appeals to you the most.


Here are some popular varieties of witch hazel that you will find at local garden centres:

  • Hamamelis mollis, Chinese witch hazel is a variety with stunning golden-yellow blooms and oval-shaped yellowing leaves. It flowers in late winter.
  • Wisley Supreme is a round-leaved that produced yellow flowers on bare branches through the mid to late winter.
  • Witch hazel Jelena has coppery orange blooms 2.5 cm, with gorgeous leaves that turn yellow and red during the late winter.
  • Witch hazel Diane has crimson red flowers and a long mid-winter flowering period that will add a light fragrance to your winter garden.

You will find all of these varieties of witch hazel at your local garden centre along with growing tips and fertilisers to keep your witch hazel in full bloom.