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Plants for Winter Interest – Hamamelis species

Colder weather often sees gardens left a little sparse and bare, though with correct structure and care there’s no reason for a garden not to remain colourful and exciting during the winter. There are plenty of plants we’re happy to recommend based on their winter interest, in this case the atmospheric Witch Hazel, Hamamelis.

Hamamelis ‘Diane’ brings attractive winter colouring to the environment. During the summer it features broad leaves with a plain green hue, and later takes on a variety of wonderful autumn colours, from vibrant yellows through deep orange and red. Around mid-winter the bare stems produce busy, spider-like flowers with vibrant red colouring. For a more muted feel consider the ‘Jelena’ variant. This breed produces similar flowers in a coppery orange during late winter. The flowers are most fragrant on Hamamelis ‘Pallida’, so consider this species if scent is important to you. Whichever species you choose, they all make for an excellent splash of winter colour.

This deciduous shrub is fairly easy to care for, requiring a minimal amount of maintenance per year, no more than an hour excluding watering. Flowering in January and February, the flowers are not spoilt by frost or snow. We advise it be kept in a sheltered site, so long as there is enough sunlight to encourage flowering. Be sure the plant is in a moist but well-drained soil. Though established plants shouldn’t need watering, newly planted shrubs may need watering during the spring and summer.

Structurally, the shrub is quite versatile. As a specimen plant it functions nicely, and can be container kept for more flexibility. Hamamelis also creates a focal point in a mixed border, and can be under planted to show it off.

Hamamelis ‘Diane’ comes highly recommended by English Woodlands, producing pleasant winter colours and scents in a variety of locations and uses. If Hamamelis doesn't seem right for you, then feel free to take a look at our blog series on plants for winter interest.

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