Monday, January 14, 2013

Witch Hazel-The BEST January Blooming Fragrant Shrub for Tennessee

Vernal Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) has to be my absolute favorite shrub for the month of January in Tennessee. I was looking out my kitchen window and I noticed a shrub that absolutely glowed-despite the 20 degree chill in the air. I had to venture outside and get a closer look at the vernal witch hazel.
From a distance the shrub literally glows because the flowers are so small yet there is a lot of surface area that reflects and captures the sun's rays. From up close the shrub is heavenly with its light honeysuckle/jasmine type scent. Awwww, I just want to stand near the shrub all day to smell it's fragrance and bask in its glory. Fortunately for me, witch hazel limbs make great cut stems inside of the house so that I did not have to stand outside all day.
Grow this witch hazel in full sun to part shade. It will be more open in the shade so be sure to leave room for it amongst your woodland garden shrubs. Mine grows under a mature oak tree where it gets partial sun, no water whatsoever, and little care. I have never fertilized this shrub and think as long as it is planted in an organically rich soil with an annual leaf cover of fallen leaves it will grow forever and live quite happily. Of the three witch hazels growing in my garden (Common witch hazel, and 'Diane'-a hybrid) the Vernal Witch Hazel does the best and never fails to bloom in January in my Tennessee garden....

in the garden....

The article on how to make the plant label pictured in the first picture can be found here

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Beautiful! The fragrance is wonderful. To me it has a hint of cloves.

  2. Can you believe with my perfect conditions that I do not have one of those in my garden? I could have them all along the woods edge in the backyard but nope, not one in my gardens. What is wrong with me? I went back to reread the sign making post and how exciting to see it was posted on my Birthday! LOL... I shall jot down some notes and try to get myself to make some of those tags as I sooooo need them in the garden...

  3. I can see why this plant deserves the plant of the month. It is often not used as much as it should be, and it is a wonderful addition to many gardens.

  4. A very beautiful shrub. I sure wish I could grow one here. I also went back to refresh myself on the tag making.

  5. It's good for skin care too, I've heard. I wonder if the "witch" part of the name comes from the idea that it was once used for medicinal purposes by female healers? When we first moved to Florida, I thought that Loropetalum was some sort of witch hazel since it blooms most abundantly at this time of year.

  6. Mine is a small shrub that I hope flowers a bit this year.

  7. I've never even SEEN a witch hazel in real life, and I'm dying to know the fragance. And flowers in winter? How wonderful! But I have mere inches of shade here, so it's not for me. Sigh.

  8. I've admired these shrubs on blogs for years now...I'm not sure if they are hardy in zone 5, though. The scent sounds heavenly--too bad we can't add smells to blogs:)

  9. My vernal witch hazel is so small...but oh the fragrance is amazing! Once it gets larger I will cut a branch or two and bring them in. Wonderful!!!