Content Detail

A number of hybrids have been bred between Chinese witch-hazel (Hamamelis mollis) and Japanese witch-hazel (Hamamelis japonica). These large shrubs have interesting ribbon-like flowers, usually in shades of yellow to red, appearing in late winter or very early spring before the leaves appear.

  • Family (English) witch-hazel
  • Family (botanic) Hamamelidaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances clay soil
  • Season of interest late winter, early spring, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Orange, Red, Yellow
  • Shape or form Broad, Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and Form: 

Typically, hybrid witch-hazels are 12 to 15 feet high with a spreading form. The height varies by cultivar.

Native geographic location and habitat:

These are hybrids between Japanese and Chinese species of witch-hazel.

Bark color and texture: 

The bark is gray and relatively smooth.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The leaves are simple, alternate, and ovoid with widely toothed margins. They are 3 to 6 inches long and gray-green in summer. The fall color is yellow, orange, and sometimes red, depending on the cultivar. Some cultivars retain their leaves long into the winter months.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

The flowers may be yellow, red, or orange (copper) with four strap-like petals.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The fruit is a dry capsule.

Plant care: 

Plant in full sun to part shade in moist, well-drained organic soils. Root suckers may need to be removed to control the plant size. The hybrid is often root grafted on common witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana). Prune soon after it has flowered.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Powdery mildew and Japanese beetles can be problems on this shrub. It is resistant to black walnut toxicity.

Arnold Promise witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’):

This cultivar has fragrant lemon-yellow flowers with a red calyx. The fall color is  yellow-orange-red. It will reach a height and spread of 12 to 15 feet. It tends to be vase-shaped and flowers a little later than other cultivars.

Diane witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’):

A wide-spreading cultivar reaching a height of 8 to 12 feet and spreading 10 to 15 feet. It has copper-red, slightly fragrant flowers. Leaves are dark green in the summer leaves and yellow-orange-red in the fall.

Jelena witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Copper Beauty’):

This cultivar has beautiful coppery-orange, 1 inch long twisted petals. The  fall color is a kaleidoscope of orange, red, and yellow. It reaches 12 to 15 feet high and is wide spreading.

Ruby Glow witch-hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Ruby Glow’): 

A large 15 feet high and wide shrub with a vase-shaped habit. The flowers are copper-red, kinked, and twisted. The fall color is red and orange.


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