Hamamelis virginiana (American Witch Hazel) grown in 3-gallon pots.
Yellow fall foliage of Hamamelis virginiana (American Witch Hazel).
Close-up of unique flowers of Hamamelis virginiana (American Witch Hazel).

Hamamelis virginiana (American Witch Hazel) Unity Grown

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Hamamelis virginiana, also called witch-hazel (with any number of spellings) is a deciduous shrub or small tree, typically found in understory environments across the eastern half of the United States and Canada. In spring, witchhazel produces new foliage, which slowly unfurls into mature, dark green toothed leaves with a beautiful texture. While plants are in perhaps most vivid in the summer, autumn is when witch-hazel truly stands out. After the plant's dazzling fall show of golden yellow leaves has wrapped up and leaves have started to follow, the plant's seed pods, which typically take a full year to develop, loudly announce its presence, as the spidery, lemon-yellow flowers burst forth on the suddenly leafless branchlets. Even in winter it’s a standout with its zigzag, naked twigs, bearing the squat, light brown, two-beaked capsules, both old and new.

In the Northeast, witch-hazel is the last native woody plant of the season to flower, spreading its blooms in September, October, or November. Some blooms may open as late as February in the Washington, DC, area in mild winters. Witch-hazel is especially appropriate as a Wildflower of the Year because it was first discovered in Virginia, hence its specific scientific name, virginiana.

American Witch-Hazel was named Wildflower of the Year in 2002

(Courtesy of Virginia Native Plant Society)


Native to Eastern Shore, Native to Maryland, Native to U.S., and Straight Species
Mature Plant Height:
Sun (6+ hours) and Part Shade/Sun (4-6 hours of sun)
Soil Moisture: Medium and Well-drained
Soil Type: Rich Organic Matter, Acidic, and Wide Tolerance
Bloom Time: Fall and Winter
Flower Color: Yellow
Foliage color: Green
Features: Attracts Birds, Attracts Pollinators, Attracts Wildlife, Host Plant for Butterflies or Moths, Fall Color, Winter Interest, and Erosion Control
Tolerances: Deer Tolerant, Clay Soil Tolerant, Wet Soil Tolerant, and Black Walnut Tolerant
Garden Type: Pollinator Garden, Woodland Garden, Rain Garden, Wetland Restoration, Specimen Tree, and Border/Screen

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