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HAMAMELIS vernalis 'Christmas Cheer'

Image of Hamamelis vernalis 'Christmas Cheer'

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Hamamelidaceae

Botanical Name

HAMAMELIS vernalis 'Christmas Cheer'

Plant Common Name

Ozark Witchhazel, Vernal Witchhazel

General Description

Bearing its spicy-scented blooms during the shortest days of the year, 'Christmas Cheer' flowers weeks to months earlier than most other forms of vernal witchhazel.

The oval, scallop-edged, medium- to dark-green leaves of this upright, rounded shrub are borne alternately along gray-barked branches. The leaves turn buttery yellow in fall. Small flowers with four narrow, ribbon-like, coppery-orange petals cluster along the naked branches for several weeks beginning in late fall or early winter. The flowers give rise to woody capsules which eject their seeds by opening explosively at the tip. Plants often sucker, producing new stems from beneath the ground that in time can form a small thicket.

A medium to large, cold-hardy shrub from the south-central United States, vernal witchhazel thrives in full to partial sun and moist, well-drained, acidic to neutral soil. It will tolerate drought and sandy or clay soil. Plant one as a garden accent, or several in a naturalistic grouping or informal hedge. The flowers look best if back-lit by the sun.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

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

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    5'-10' / 1.5m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Orange, Burgundy, Copper

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Gold

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • 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

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No