In very early spring, before the leaves unfurl, Chinese witch-hazel blooms a deep yellow with a tinge of red on strap-like, crinkled flowers. Flowers have a spicy-scented fragrance. The new foliage is yellowish-green, deepening to medium green over the summer and turning buttery yellow in fall.
All common names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Mixed border,
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Clay soil
Seasons of Interest:
- late winter,
- early spring,
- mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size and Form
10 to 15 feet high and wide; rounded form at maturity.
Tree & Plant Care
Full sun to part shade in moist, organic, well-drained soils.
Roots benefit with a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperatures.
Keep well-watered to prevent leaf scorch in hot summers.
Disease, pests and problems
No serious pests. Does not form leaf galls like American varieties.
Scorch can be a problem in hot summers.
Leaves open early and can be damaged by spring frosts.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Resistant to black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Bark color and texture
Relatively smooth, gray or gray-brown.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, alternate leaves; 3 to 6 inches long; nearly round with broad teeth.
Medium green in summer; fall color yellow to yellow-orange.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Yellow flowers with 4 strap-like petals in late winter to very early spring; very fragrant.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Dry capsule; not ornamentally important.
Brevipetala witch-hazel (Hamamelis ‘Brevipetala’) : Yellow flowers with red coloring at the base of the petals. Leaves tend to persist in winter. Upright form. This cultivar is considered a hybrid between Chinese witch-hazel (Hamamelis mollis) and vernal witch-hazel (Hamamellis vernalis).