Common Witchhazel Shrub
The common witchhazel shrub is a native small tree or shrub that produces beautiful yellow blooms in the fall (one of the only trees that will do so). Additionally it is also very cold hardy (growing zones 3-8) and can tolerate different growing conditions. If you are looking for a spectacular dash of yellow for a landscape, then witchhazel is the perfect tree. Because of its late bloom it is also called Winterbloom. In fact its name witch doesn’t come from the word meaning magic (even though it has many medicinal purposes), but from the Old English wice, meaning “pliant” or “bendable”.
- Uses: Whereas the leaf, bark and twigs have medicinal qualities, this small tree is also great for a shrub border or an understory (the underlying layer of vegetation in a forest or wooded area). They are also perfect for landscaping for a backyard because of their colors.
- Health Benefits: Witchhazel has many medicinal qualities for the skin including relief for itching, pain and swelling, eye inflammation, skin injury, mucous membrane inflammation, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, bruises, insect bites, minor burns, acne, sensitive scalp, and other skin irritations.
- Size: Witchhazel grows to a height of 12–20′ and a spread of 12–15′ at maturity.
- Color: From October through December, Witchhazel blooms a beautiful yellow. Additionally in the fall, it’s elliptic 3–6″ leaves become a nice shade of yellow or yellowish-orange.
- Hardiness Zones: 3 – 8
- Pests and Diseases
- Although Witchhazel is resistant to deer and tolerant of Black Walnut Toxicity, it is susceptible to root rot and a disorder called honey fungus. These diseases may cause the leaves to brown and fall and are more common during wet conditions.
- Bloom Period: Witchhazel blooms from October to December with fragrant yellow flowers, with 4 beautiful strap-like crumpled petals. In fact, you won’t find many other trees that will bloom during this time.
- Pollination: Because of their bloom period, Witchhazel can self-pollinate.
- Cultivation: This tree will grow 13-24” each year under the right conditions. In fact it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight, and acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils. However it can tolerate a variety of moisture conditions. Lastly, you can control the shape through pruning. For example you can grow it as a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub with an irregular, rounded shape.
Check out our guides page for information on how to take care of trees.