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06 Jan 2018

Winter Scent - Hamamelis – Witch Hazel – totally bewitching scent!

Hamamelis x int 'Orange Beauty'

Hamamelis x int 'Ruby Glow'

Hamamelis x int. 'Arnold's Promise'

Hamamelis for one is a real winter flowering hard as nails plant. The spidery exotic flowers appear on bare stems from December through to March with absolutely no adverse effects on the flowers however cold the weather. The flowers do not wither in frost and in fact seem to stand up to cold winds, severe frosts and snow with a hardiness that is to be admired.

The flowers tend to be yellow, orange and red depending on variety and are strange in appearance which only adds to their appeal especially on bare winter stems. The scent tends to be slightly spicy and is really appreciated on cold days.

Hamamelis shrubs tend to have an open slightly vase shaped habit and just the winter outline of an established plant is lovely enough on its own. The overall attractive shape makes them a great choice for planting in a mixed border where the scent can be appreciated in the winter months or even as a stand-alone specimen.

Hamamelis tend to grow to between 3-5m in height and on the whole prefer a slightly woodland situation of partial shade in a well- drained soil. They require very little maintenance or pruning and as such are an easy shrub for most to look after once planted and established.  

A Hamamelis will never cease to give pleasure in the winter months and just begs you to stick your nose into its spidery flowers – the added autumn colour is a huge bonus too.

Some popular varieties are highlighted below:

  • Arnold’s Promise – deep yellow flowers
  • Pallida – sulphur yellow flowers and one of the smallest reaching roughly 2m in height
  • Diane – crimson-red flowers
  • Orange Beauty – orange–yellow flowers
  • Ruby Glow – red flowers
  • Jelena – coppery orange flowers
  • Pendula – yellow flowers. Shrub has a weeping habit

In the late spring and summer months foliage hazel-like foliage emerges and is dark green in colour and slightly pendulous.  The other real season of ornamental value is in the autumn when the leaves take on the most magnificent colours in bands of yellow, orange and red. 

Hamamelis autumn leaf colour

Hamamelis x int. Jelena