Looking for a way to bring early color into your winter garden? Look no further than the spellbinding Witch Hazel (Hamamelis sp.)! These beautiful, deer resistant shrubs put forth a dazzling display of yellow, orange, and red blooms, right in the middle of winter. Hamamelis virginiana is the species native to our area, and blooms a bit earlier (late fall/early winter). The warm temperatures over the last few days mean you will start to see the bewitching spidery flowers pop soon! Witch hazel is a hardy shrub that can reach up to 20’ tall and wide. The blooms have a unique “spicy” and clean scent, and are a welcome source of food for pollinators – the branches are also great for forcing indoors! Witch hazel does best in partial to full sun, and makes a great addition to a mixed shrub border or woodland planting.
Witch hazel has a storied history as a medicinal shrub, and has been used for centuries to treat swelling and inflammation. Today, witch hazel extract has been approved by the FDA as a non-prescription ingredient, and is used in thousands of beauty products - like deodorant, face toners and acne lotion – and medicinal products treating everything from bug bites and skin rashes, to internal bleeding and cancer.
Plant witch hazel in your garden and let it cast a spell on you for years to come!