As a winter flowering subject they are best planted where they can be
easily viewed from indoors. When inspecting the plants
more closely in the garden, it pays to plant them near to a path or at
the front of a border. This will avoid trampling across a bed to
smell the flowers, damaging the soil structure, particularly when wet,
as it often is during the winter.
Traditionally they have always been planted in a woodland type garden
with dappled shade. They will however grow quite happily
in the open and flowering is more profuse in this situation.
Avoid frost pockets if at all possible as Witch Hazels are susceptible
to damage by late spring frosts, particularly young plants
SOILS AND PLANTING
Witch Hazels will grow in all soil types successfully except shallow
soils overlying chalk or limestone. The soil must be well
drained however, any water logging during winter will lead to root death
and eventual death of the plant. More plants are lost for
this than any other cause. Good soil preparation is therefore vital, on
heavy clay soils ‘mound planting’ is the best procedure to
adopt. It is important not to plant too deeply as Witch Hazels are surface
rooting. Dig a hole to the depth of the container and three
to four times wider, break up the soil in the base of the hole, place
the plant and fill the soil in and firm with the boot. Do not plant
in wet soil, firming will damage structure and do not incorporate organic
matter, the roots need to search out into the soil.
and feed can be applied later to the surface of the soil.
During the first couple of seasons after planting it is important to
water during dry spells in the summer. Symptoms of water
stress will be marginal leaf scorch, Hamamelis mollis and it’s cultivars
are the first to suffer. Mulching the plants with good
garden compost or leaves will help to reduce moisture loss from the soil
surface. Do not place the mulch right up to the stem
of the plant, mice love to winter under the mulch and can gnaw the bark
and kill a plant. It goes without saying that weeds must
be kept down, competing for moisture and nutrients, as they do. They will
benefit from a light feed each spring, use a fertiliser
which contains all the essential nutrients.
Young plants are susceptible to late spring frost damage, so if container
grown delay planting until the fear of frost has passed.
The following couple of springs it pays to have some fleece available
to cover the plants on frosty spring nights. Larger plants
can of course be damaged but will come back rapidly, whereas small plants,
which have not established a good root system
Witch Hazels are propagated by grafting onto seed raised rootstocks of
the American Witch Hazel. Consequently suckers
can arise from below the graft union. These should be removed as close
as possible to the point from which they arise and
not allowed to develop as they can take the plant over.
Contrary to popular opinion they can be pruned to contain their size,
after flowering cut the previous years growth back to,
two buds. This procedure can be carried out annually from when the plants
are well established after planting, in most cases
two to three years after planting.
Pests and diseases are not a significant problem, mice, rabbits and deer
need to be kept away and drainage needs to be
good as root rotting diseases can lead to death of the plant.