Content Detail

Spiked winter-hazel is one of the first flowering shrubs in early spring. Profuse, 1 to 2 inch long pendulous racemes of pale yellow, cup-shaped flowers appear before the leaves. Upright, spreading shrub reaches 5 to 7 feet high. The emerging leaves are reddish-purple changing to a blue-green. It grows well in sun or shade. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

  • Family (English) Witch-hazel
  • Family (botanic) Hamamelidaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • 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 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), 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 has an upright, open habit reaching 5 to 7 feet high and 7 to 9 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Japan.

Bark color and texture:

The flexible branches are gray and grow crooked or in a zig-zag.

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

Leaves are alternate, ovate to rounded, 2 to 4 inches long with serrated margins. New growth emerges purple-bronze, changing to blue green, then a clear yellow in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

In April, soft yellow, fragrant, 1 to 2 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 It prefers a protected site and is tolerant of dry sites once established. The early spring flowers are susceptible to frost. A layer of 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 4 to 6 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide. Needs to be sheltered from wind and late season frost. Pendulous butter yellow flowers before leaves in early spring. Marginally hardy in Chicago, it is rated for zones 6-8.

Veitch’s winter-hazel (Corylopsis veitchiana):

A rounded 5 to 6 foot high shrub with primrose yellow pendulous flowers and red anthers. Marginally hardy, Zone 6-9.


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