Hamamelis Species, American Witch Hazel, Common Witch Hazel

Hamamelis virginiana

Family: Hamamelidaceae
Genus: Hamamelis (ham-uh-MEE-lis) (Info)
Species: virginiana (vir-jin-ee-AN-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Saraland, Alabama

Morrilton, Arkansas

Dover, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Lake City, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Barnesville, Georgia

Clarkesville, Georgia

Columbus, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Batavia, Illinois

Palmyra, Illinois

Michigan City, Indiana

Valparaiso, Indiana

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Slaughter, Louisiana

Freedom, Maine

Elkton, Maryland

Emmitsburg, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Maplewood, New Jersey

Buffalo, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

Oakland Gardens, New York

Painted Post, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Sanford, North Carolina

Oak Harbor, Ohio

Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Levittown, Pennsylvania

Milford, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Arlington, Texas

Salisbury, Vermont

Leesburg, Virginia

Newport, Virginia

Vienna, Virginia

Edmonds, Washington

Porterfield, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 13, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

An attractive shrub or multitrunked understory tree native to moist woodlands of eastern N. America. It differs from the Asian witch hazels in blooming in late fall rather than late winter.

This tree can reach a height of 20-25' and as wide. It should be planted where it can reach its full size without disturbance. Pruning destroys its beautiful branching architecture.

I observe a lot of genetic variation in the number of flowers. The average wild plant is a lot less floriferous than any of the hybrid Asian witch hazels in commerce. But a few plants have a lot more flowers.

There's also a lot of genetic variability in the timing of bloom. Some bloom while still in leaf, others come into bloom only after the leaves drop. The latter are more ornam... read more


On Jan 8, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I've seen this plant wild in the shady, mature (climax) woods of se PA, sw Michigan, and northern DE. I occassioanlly see a few in landscapes, usually planted because of landscape architects. Large nurseries and native nurseries sell some. It is a high quality plant that is neat and clean. Handsome leaves get to 6" long x 3.5 " wide, develop good yellow or orange fall color, and stems have smooth gray bark, and small yellow flowers bloom in October, November, to early December. Grows about 1 ft/yr and lives 100 to 150 yrs. Can be a small tree, but usually a large shrub in regular landscapes. Grows in moist or draining wet soils acid or slightly alkaline; dislikes dry soils.


On Jun 11, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Witch Hazel is native to U.S. and Canada from Quebec & Nova Scotia to northern Michigan & southeast Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flowering in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils. Tolerates heavy clay soils. Promptly remove suckers to prevent colonial spread. Little pruning is required. Prune in early spring if necessary.

This small tree or tall shrub is often multi-trunked and usually grows10-15 ft. tall but can reach 35 ft. in height. The large, crooked, spreading branches form an irregular, open crown. The floral display of witch hazel is unique. Its fragrant, yellow flowers with strap-like, crumpled petals appear in the fall, persisting for som... read more


On Aug 5, 2012, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Grows well in a very large pot here in North Florida. Beautiful foliage does not appear to be bothered by insects or disease so far, but has yet to bloom


On Dec 14, 2009, bogturtle from Egg Harbor Township, NJ wrote:

H. virginiana 'Harvest Moon' was planted, late this summer. It bloomed, as predicted, after most of the leaves were shed. This made the tiny flowers much easier to see. Its flower color did not, especially, carry and bloom did not last long, but the flowering period is unique, among the Hamamelis on this property.


On Dec 14, 2009, waplummer from Painted Post, NY wrote:

A few year's ago Anne Raver wrote an article on the witch hazels in the NY Times contending that a cold period is needed for them to bloom and that the order of bloom was a function of the length of that cold period. Based on her contention, Hamamelis virginiana is not the last to bloom, but the first.


On Dec 14, 2009, ival from Arlington, TX wrote:

While I have never grown witch hazel here in Arlington, Texas, I do have fond memories of admiring both the appearance and fragrance of a large planting of witch hazel in bloom in Meadowbrook Park in east Fort Worth, years ago. These were well-established shrubs, professionally cared for, and presumably with the advantage of an irrigation system to tide them through the often hot and dry summers here. Dogwood trees do well here when properly established and well-mulched; and witch hazels appear to have similar requirements.


On Jul 1, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant does grow down into central Florida, zone 9.


On Jan 3, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This species blooms in autumn, beginning while the leaves are still attached. The flowers continue to bloom through late fall and early winter, providing a long season of bloom. The seedpods ripen in the spring as new leaves emerge. A very beautiful shrub to grow for window viewing


On Feb 2, 2002, activex wrote:

According to legend, the forked branches of the Witch-Hazel, Hamamelis virginiana, can be used as a divining rod to detect groundwater sources. Liquid extracted from the bark is used for astringents. The capsulated fruit, when dry, can shoot the seeds up to a distance of 30 feet which is a good system of seed dispersal.

What to look for: Leaves asymetrical at base with coarse rounded teeth. flowers yellow. Fruit are hard brown capsules.

Habitat: Bottomlands, forests, streambanks and moist woodlands.

Size: 5 - 15 feet tall. Leaves 4 - 6 inches long.