Spotlight on Great Native Plants: Vernal Witch-hazel
Vernal Witch-hazel aka Spring Witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is one of our earliest blooming native shrubs, flowering as early as January, but often in February or March. Its orange, red or yellow flowers can appear while snow is still on the ground, and hug tightly onto the leafless branches. The spicy, sweet fragrance of the flowers will often lure you even before you spot the showy flowers. This hardy plant is native to rocky stream banks and sand bars Ozark plateau of Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Hamamelis vernalis has a very long bloom time, as long as 4 weeks, and offers a pollen and nectar reward to any small native bees, honey bees or gnats who may venture out on the occasional warm and sunny winter day. The plant grows well in moist to wet, slightly acidic soil, in zones 4 to 8 and it is happiest in part sun to part shade. You can expect the mature size to be from 6 to 12 feet high by 6 to 15 ft wide.
Let us know what you have blooming in your garden right now and what state are you in!
Happy Winter Gardening from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!
Photo: Hamamelis vernalis
Photo credit: Flickr/JimthePhotographer
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