Content Detail

Spiked winter-hazel is one of the first flowering shrubs in early spring. Profuse one to two inch long pendulous racemes of pale yellow, cup-shaped flowers appear before the leaves. Upright, spreading shrub reaches five to seven feet high, emerging leaves are reddish-purple changing to a blue-green. It grows excellent in sun or shade. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

  • Family (English) Witch-hazel
  • Family (botanic) Hamamelidaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest late winter, early spring, midsummer, late summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Yellow
  • Shape or form Open, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate, Slow

Size and form:

Spiked winter-hazel is an upright, open habit reaching five to seven feet high and seven to nine feet wide shrub.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Japan.

Bark color and texture:

The flexible branches are gray and grow crooked to zig-zag.

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

Leaves are alternate, ovate to rounded, two to four inches long with serrated margins. New growth emerges purple-bronze changing to blue green, then a clear yellow fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

In April, soft yellow, fragrant, one to two inch pendulous racemes appear before the leaves emerge.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It produces a dehiscent capsule that is not showy.

Plant care:

Spiked winter-hazel grows in full sun to part shade in moist, slightly acidic, well-drained soil and protected site. It is tolerant of dry sites once established. The early spring flowers are susceptible to frost. Spreading thin mulch will help to maintain a cool root environment.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

There aren’t any serious pests or diseases. It is tolerant of drier soil once established.

Buttercup winter-hazel (Corylopsis pauciflora):

An upright spreading shrub reaching four to six feet high and six to eight feet wide. Needs to be sheltered from wind and late season frost. Pendulous butter yellow flowers before leaves in early spring. Marginally hardy Zone 6-8.

Veitch’s winter-hazel (Corylopsis veitchiana):

A rounded five to six foot high shrub with primrose yellow pendulous flowers with red anthers. Marginally hardy Zone 6-9.


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