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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 10:20am
I was wondering if anyone has ever grown a witch hazel tree? I am currently looking for one for my front yard but I was wondering how they grew for others. Are there any certain varieties to be on the look out for? Thanks Jenn
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 10:51am
Some clever little cultivars these day but I'm for the Chinese witch hazel Hammamelis mollis. I still think its the most handsome of all witch hazels.
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 10:57am
I would buy one in bloom (usually in December or January or February). That way you are certain of the color and the fragrance. I have two of these small trees (one yellow, one red). Neither one has any fragrance to speak of. My yellow one (Hamamelis intermedia 'Arnold's Promise') has plain ugly yellow leaves in the fall. My red one (Hamamelis intermedia 'Diane') has great fall color - reddish leaves. Both of these varieties are supposed to be fragrant but not mine. That's why I'd buy when they are blooming. They don't get very tall - maybe 10 feet in many many years and they like to be multi-trunked and wide (usually wider than they are tall). Put it near where you walk in the winter, you won't be able to see or smell the blooms from far off. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 12:22pm
Ohh I want one too Sparklemama! Did you see Plantsman's picture of one here: Hamamelis mollis
How cheery it would be in the middle of winter!
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 1:24pm
I bought a yellow Hamamelis mollis 2 winters ago, as you suggested, when it was in bloom. It is probably 6 inches longer in every branch than 2 years ago, its bloom was somewhat fitfull last winter, but we had a confusing winter, weatherwise last year. Is this thing supposed to develope a main trunk? Should you prune it up at the base? as my is definatly a spreading bush shape now, and when should you do that? I recognize the flowers as the same as my very short bush--the unexpected music with the picture was a nice twist Thanks!
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 1:45pm
You must have activated my - that's where the tune is. I must be a little bit crazy because I play sugar sugar over and over again.
Re- pruning Hamamelis mollis. It is naturally a spreading shrub/tree and if you want a single main trunk you would have to form it in that direction from a newly grafted plant or a young own root one. My choice is to leave it to it's own way as that usually creates the Oriental look - to me anyway. Any pruning would consist of the removal of suckers from a grafted one and the removal of branches in spring as soon as the flowers fade - but keep it to a minimum only removing those branches that are causing centre congestion or are damaged.
Posted: Sep-23-2004 at 5:34pm
I have also heard that witch hazels aren't fond of lots of pruning - that it should be as minimal as possible.
Sparklemama, I took a wonderful class on witch hazels some years back at Hoyt Arboretum. Give me a day or so and I'll see if there's any nuggets of wisdom not already shared that would be helpful to you.
Gardening in Sunset Zone 6, USDA Zone 8.
Posted: Sep-24-2004 at 9:16am
Blame it on my head cold but the brain is working slowly these days . . .
sparklemama, I recall learning from that class that you can MOL predict the fall leaf color by the flower color. Yellow blooming trees will generally have yellow fall color, red-flowered witch hazels will have red fall color, etc. IME, this has been proven true. At least all the ones we had at the nursery followed this rule of thumb.
Wanda, I have a hard time detecting fragrance from the ones purported to be fragrant as well. I have a generally sensitive nose but witch hazel's aroma isn't obvious to me. But their blooms are so lovely, I forgive them for that.
Gardening in Sunset Zone 6, USDA Zone 8.
Posted: Sep-24-2004 at 12:13pm
Yes, rereading my post it sounds like I'm "down" on them but I really do like these trees and if you really stick your nose in them they do have a pretty smell. Fragrance is a personal thing and I usually try to buy plants while in bloom if the fragrance is important to me. The exact same variety of plants can have different smells to my nose so I pick and sniff while at the nursery! Also, I'm sure soil and growing conditions could affect fragrance. My Witchhazels are sited in a tough spot where they don't get any coddling (which describes most of my yard). I do love their little spidery blooms - the yellow especially. -Wanda
Posted: Sep-24-2004 at 12:26pm
That's interesting, Lisa. I've thought about getting a red-flowered witch hazel. That would be neat if it follows with red leaves too. The flowers certainly are unique. I've got to think up a place where I could put one? Hmmmm.
Posted: Sep-24-2004 at 5:33pm
The plants are nice. It takes a few years for the size to enable a visual impact from a distance.
Be prepared for occassional dissapointments - some years, the weather combination will be harsh on the flowers.
So if you absolutely want winter flowers,don't let that be your only plant.
Maybe keep a few sasanqua camellias around.
Posted: Sep-27-2004 at 1:27pm
hey guys and gals!! thanks so much for all your infor. i had no idea that there werewitchhazels with more then yellow flowers. i have never seen a red one. anyone know where there is a picture of one? are the reds as easy to find in the nusries or am i going to have to pay big bucks for one. i really like the sound of the red as i wanted something with nice red fall color. i was going for the yellow though as it was so beautiful i didn't care about color after that..lol. i want to plant it right next to my sidewalk by the driveway on the front corner of the prop.
any other info you can remeber would be greatly appericated lisa.
plantman isn't the chinese witchazel a lot bigger the 10ft? i had heard that there was a varitey that was a lot bigger then others. i dont think i would want anything that would be bigger then 20ft.
thanks again guys for all your great info. now i just have to see how much they are charging for these little guys.
happy preping fo winter!! jenn