What’s blooming in Dawn’s yard? American witch hazel

Blog post by Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Photos by Dawn Weber and Kathy Bildner 

Close-up of witch hazel bloomPlant name:
American or common witch hazel (Hamamlis virginiana)

Witch hazel grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree, as large as 15-20 feet high and wide. 

It will flower best in sunnier spots, but can tolerate a fair amount of shade. Witch hazel grows best in moist, acidic, rich soil but ​tolerates average soil moisture, clay soil, and even poor drainage.

The color of the flowers can range from yellow to yellow with an orange-tinged center and will appear any time from October through December. The leaves turn yellow and provide nice fall color. 

Why I chose this plant:
I chose to plant witch hazel because I wanted to extend the blooming​ season as long as possible for pollinators and other insects. Witch hazel will be the last plant to bloom in the fall.

Witch hazel in bloomThe related Spring or Ozark​ witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) blooms in late winter/early spring. Plant both!

Unfortunately I have not noticed any visitors this fall, but it should be attractive to moths and flies. It is a host plant to at least 62 species of moths, including the Unicorn caterpillar moth. 

This species is native to the Eastern United States, but is not as prevalent in Missouri, where it is found in the St. Francois mountain area.  


Where to Purchase:
Forrest Keeling Nursery 

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