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HAMAMELIS x intermedia 'Birgit'

Image of Hamamelis x intermedia 'Birgit'

Mark A. Miller

Family

Hamamelidaceae

Botanical Name

HAMAMELIS x intermedia 'Birgit'

Plant Common Name

Birgit Witchhazel, Showy Witchhazel

Special Notice

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

General Description

Bushy with an upright but rounded habit, Birgit showy witchhazel bears dark red-purple flowers and yellow to orange-red fall foliage. In the last dreary days of winter its branches become lined with faintly fragrant, short, ribbon-like crinkled flowers. This hybrid shrub blends the ornamental characteristics of its two parents, Chinese witchhazel (Hamamelis mollis) and Japanese witchhazel (H. japonica ), and was introduced into the nursery trade in 1986. It was raised by Robert de Belder at the Kalmthout Arboretum in Antwerp, Belgium.

Showy witchhazel has dull dark green leaves that are broadly oval with wavy edges and short tips. The new, maroon-tinted leaves are glossier on top and paler and slightly fuzzy beneath. In autumn they turn yellow suffused with orange-red tones. The bark is smooth and gray-brown, but the smaller twigs, from which the flowers arise, are lighter in color. The petals of 'Birgit' are red-purple and are held in a dark purple cup. Faintly fragrant, these blossoms are best viewed up close to admire their uniquely dark hues.

Plant the Birgit witchhazel in full to partial sun and organic-rich, acid or neutral soil with even moisture and good drainage. Simply put: the more sun, the grander the flower show. Its growth is considerably slower in drier soils and hot locations.

This shrub is a wonderful specimen plant for open landscapes, foundations, mixed borders or public landscapes – from parks and campuses to commercial courtyard and entrance gardens. It looks especially lovely when low groundcovers and early spring bulbs blanket the soil under the branches.

Many outstanding cultivars have been developed, and most are grafted onto the rootstocks of hardier and more vigorous American witchhazels (H. vernalis or H. virginiana). So, suckering stems that arise from below the graft union should be pruned off.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

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

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    11'-13' / 3.4m - 4.0m

  • Width

    9'-11' / 2.7m - 3.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Winter, Late Winter

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • 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

    Purple, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Gold

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, 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

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No