I make no apologies for including yet a further Witch Hazel - one of the oldest, yet still one of the best varieties - Hamamelis mollis. It is an important contributor to the Hamamelis group of plants, for together with Hamamelis japonica, it was responsible for the hybrid cross - Hamamelis x intermedia, and all of its progeny.
To have good offspring in the plant kingdom, you have to have good parents. Hamamelis mollis has proven itself many times over a long period of time. There is a growing tendency to opt for choice hybrids in the commercial world of gardening. Plants such as Hamamelis mollis should never be forgotten or discarded. It is still one of the best.
Hamamelis (Witch Hazels) can be grown in most soils that are slightly acid or neutral. They should be grown in either full sun or light shade. They are a natural 'woodland' plant, can grow to around 4m, and require very little attention by way of pruning. Gorgeous Autumn foliage colour -in keeping with most of the varieties available - ranging through yellow to orange and reds.
It is ironic in these times of trouble between China and Japan, that the two parent plants of Hamamelis mollis - the 'Chinese Witch Hazel, and Hamamelis japonica - the 'Japanese Witch Hazel' together sired the Hamamelis x intermedia group, which is probably the best group of Hamamelis available. Two superb parents that together, produced stunning children! Maybe plants can teach good lessons.
Meanwhile, back in the garden, Hamamelis mollis will do much to brighten up the darkest of gardens - especially if it can catch some of that low winter sunshine we sometimes get. It has a slightly spreading, but upright habit of growth, which incidentally will give good frost protection from low growing Japanese Azaleas, and looks absolutely amazing when under planted with winter flowering heathers. Eventually, this Witch Hazel will grow to around 12 feet high, with a similar spread, but it will need plenty of time to do this.
Any garden soil other than the most alkaline will suite this shrub - providing it does not suffer flooding in the winter. It makes for a good specimen plant, so is best not crowded by other plants - but as stated can be underplanted with a wide range of low-growing plants - Pulmonaria, Bergenia, Erica, dwarf Daffodils, Snowdrops of course, or lavender if you wish to brighten the area for summer interest.
Hamamelis mollis has dazzling autumn foliage colour od orange, reds and deep golden yellow in particular. These leaf colours are better served if the shrub is not neglected. An annual mulch of good garden compost, or multi-purpose potting compost will keep it healthy and happy to repay you you with a good atumn foliage display, followed shortly after with a couple of months flower in depth of winter.
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