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HAMAMELIS japonica

Image of Hamamelis japonica

Jesse Saylor

Family

Hamamelidaceae

Botanical Name

HAMAMELIS japonica

Plant Common Name

Japanese Witchhazel

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Japanese witchhazel's bare, architecturally interesting branches become a party of color and mild fragrance in late winter with tiny, multicolored, spidery blossoms. This native of Japan is a wide-spreading deciduous shrub with smooth, dark gray-brown bark and glossy, broadly oval, mid-green leaves. In autumn, they turn yellow, red and purple. Upon the bare, brown branches in late winter will be delicate tufts of very thin, crinkly yellow petals like look like tiny, short ribbons. The four petals are salmon-pink at their bases, where they attach to a dark burgundy-purple cup.

Grow the Japanese witchhazel in well-draining soils, ideally acidic or neutral in pH, but it will perform nicely in mildly alkaline soils that are moist, fertile and deep. All soils should have an ample organic matter composition. The interesting form of the wide-reaching branches makes this an excellent specimen plant for a large landscape, such as a park or university campus. In can be grown in the mixed border or as a foundation plant only if there is space.

There are four natural varieties of this species: japonica, obtusa, megalophylla, and bitchuensis. Cultivar ‘Zuccariniana’ has light yellow flowers and nice, orange-yellow fall foliage.

The pure species form of Japanese witchhazel may be difficult to locate in nurseries, usually overlooked and shadowed by smaller, more ornamental hybrid cultivars. In fact, it is one of parent plants for the highly ornamental hybrid witchhazel, Hamamelis x intermedia.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Width

    12'-18' / 3.7m - 5.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Purple, Copper

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Chocolate

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No