Common witch hazel is a small ornamental shrub or tree that grows up to 20 feet in height and spread. It is remarkable for its fall flowers, usually being the last shrub of the year to bloom. The flowers are yellow and fragrant, bearing four straplike petals. They are borne in loose clusters, and the display can last from two to four weeks in late autumn. The leaves are irregular in shape-nearly rounded but with toothed margins. They are medium green in summer, turning golden before dropping in the fall.
How to grow: Witch hazel does best in full sun to light shade and adapts to most soils. In the wild, it prefers moist situations.
Uses: Common witch hazel is used as an ornamental woodland tree or as the back of a shrub border.
Related species: The vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is similar to the common but blooms in late winter, often while the ground is still covered with snow. Its flowers are yellow to red. Arnold Promise is a very good choice.
Scientific name: Hamamelis virginiana
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