Shining like a beacon on a winter's day, witch hazel's twisted, spidery perfumed flowers thickly cover spreading branches. Hardy and bushy, 8-10ft high and across, this deciduous shrub is slow but worthwhile grower that rewards patience. Ideally, set it in a lawn with snowdrops and daffodils. Hamamelis flowers more freely in full sun and makes a shapelier, more compactbush than in light shade, in which branches are thinner and further apart and leaves larger. Position coppery red-flowered varieties where the sun shines at an angle through their petals and renders them fetchingly translucent. Witch hazel prefers well-drained, fertile, neutral to acid soil, hamamelis dislikes alkaline, chalky conditions, which causes leaves to become chlorotic. Enrich sandy soils with old manure. Plant March-November, flowers January-February and prune in March.
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