Hamamelis virginiana, commonly known as Witch Hazel, is a large perennial shrub or tree that is native to eastern and central United States and blooms in the fall season. Witch Hazel is typically 10 to 15 feet in height but can grow to be up to 30 feet tall and has an open, irregular round shape. Due to its late bloom, it is a nice addition to any garden or backyard and serves well as a border plant or privacy screen. The shrub features oval leaves which start out as bronze in color and then change to green and finally yellow before they drop off in late autumn. Witch Hazel flowers in late autumn and features petite, fragrant yellow flowers and is somewhat resistant to pollution. A favorite of American Indians, the plant was commonly used for medicinal purposes and treated inflammation, dysentery, cuts, bruises, bites and other conditions. The branches are said to make very effective dousing rods, which can be used to find underground water sources. In wicca, it is used to protect against evil influences. It is also a powerful astringent and is still used in skin care products today, especially to help reduce the visibility of varicose and facial veins.
Growing Information: Witch Hazel grows best in moist, acidic soil and prefers full sun to partial shade, but can adapt to other soil types. Seeds should be planted in pots or containers featuring partial shade at a depth of a OE inch and they take approximately two years to germinate. Once a seedling is grown it should be carefully transplanted to a bed with partial shading. Witch Hazel flourishes in zones 4-8 and is slow growing but hardy.
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