Plant of the Month February - The hybrid witch hazel ‘Westerstede’


Plant of the Month February - The hybrid witch hazel ‘Westerstede’

31Jan 2018


In February, the magic of the first winter snap and those festive days of Christmas are long gone, and the optimistic outlook of the new year has also slipped a little. February. Which is why we need just the right plant to inject a little colour, grace and beauty into these winter days. And it’s just this plant that we’d like to introduce to you: the hybrid witch hazel (Hamamelis intermedia).


The sun comes out: a high, funnel-shaped shrub with a radiant bloom


The hybrid witch hazel grows to between 2,5 and 3 metres high and a majestic 1,5 to 3 metres wide. It has a loose crown and tends to grow straight up.

Its petals are long and filamentary, and spread radially outwards, bringing to mind beams of sunlight: just the thing to lend the cold winter days a little warmth. And the fact that they blossom from the end of January until the middle of March means that we get a little of that colour that we usually have to wait until spring to experience.

The large, oval leaves are a vivid green and in autumn turn a bright yellow, shifting through dark yellow to a rich orange.


The perfect way to plant the hybrid witch hazel


The shrub needs loose, porous and humus-rich soil. Since the plant doesn’t react well to waterlogging, it’s best to add a layer of mulch around the roots. If the soil is loamy then add some fine gravel or coarse sand to loosen the soil up a little.

Plant the witch hazel ideally in a warm and sunny location, and make sure that it’s protected from the wind—for example near to the wall of a house.

The hybrid witch hazel needs little trimming—in fact heavy trimming will cause the plant to blossom less. Just regularly cut away any dead branches which might appear.