Winter's Spidery fragrance
Common Name: Chinese witch hazel
Botanical Name: Hamamelis mollis
Form: open vase shape with a coarse texture
Genus: Hamamelis (together with fruit as it bears flowers and seed at the same time)
Plant Type: deciduous shrub
Mature Size: 10' to 15' tall and wide
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 8 (place in protected location in Zone 5)
Foliage: matte green that turn bright yellow in autumn, simple, undulating margins (leaf edges), alternate, ovate
Stems: tan coloured with lenticels
Flowers: flowers January to March, fragrant, yellow spider-like with 4 thin petals, reddish brown calyx
Seeds: a two part capsule
Exposure: part shade to full sun, leggy in too much shade
Soil: average soil with good drainage, prefers a rich organic soil, avoid drought by mulching and watering in summer
Uses: garden beds, perennial & shrub border, woodland gardens, winter and fall interest, cut flowers, H. virginiana, is used to produce the witch hazel astringent.
Propagation: suckers, softwood cuttings mid spring, layering
Pruning: To keep plant compact, prune after flowering by 1/3rd.
Problems: Remove suckers that arise from the roots to prevent them from spreading. Avoid planting too deeply as this promotes suckering. Plant so the crown (where roots and stem meet) sits at the soil surface. Do not bury the graft on grafted varieties as this also encourages suckers. Suckers sprout up from the base of the plant and keep their leaves on longer than the rest of the plant. No serious insects or diseases. Sometimes gets powdery mildew if soil is dry and not mulched. Root rot is common with wet soils.
Cultivars: The hardier native witch hazel, H. virginiana, is commonly used as a rootstock for the less hardy Chinese species. The native species flowers from October to December and not as fragrant as the H. mollis.
Hybrids and cultivars are bred to have larger flowers in reds, oranges and yellows. H. virginiana also is used to produce the witch hazel astringent.All types tend to sucker, including grafted ones. Remove suckers as soon as possible so they don't take over.