Hamamelis virginiana 'Green Thumb'
Common Name: common witch hazel
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: October to December
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flowering in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils. Tolerates heavy clay soils. Promptly remove suckers to prevent colonial spread. Little pruning is required. Prune in early spring if necessary.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hamamelis virginiana, known as common witch hazel, is a fall-blooming, deciduous shrub or small tree that is native to woodlands, forest margins and stream banks in eastern North America. It typically grows 15-20’ tall with a similar spread in cultivation, but can reach 30’ tall in its native habitat. Stem-hugging clusters of fragrant bright yellow flowers, each with four crinkly, ribbon-shaped petals, appear along the branches from October to December, usually after leaf drop but sometimes at the time of fall color. Fertilized flowers will form fruit over a long period extending through winter and into the following growing season. Fruits are greenish seed capsules that become woody with age and mature to light brown. Each seed capsule splits open in fall of the following year, exploding the 1-2 black seeds within for up to 30 feet. Oval to obovate, medium to dark green leaves (to 6” long) with dentate to wavy margins turn quality shades of yellow in fall. Plants of this species are usually the last native flowering plants to bloom in Missouri each year.

Genus name comes from the Greek words hama meaning at same time and melon meaning apple or fruit in reference to the occurrence of both fruit and flowers at the same time on this shrub (particularly in the case of fall flowering members of the genus).

Specific epithet means from Virginia.

‘Green Thumb’ is a cultivar that is primarily distinguished from the species by its unique foliage. Obovate leaves emerge in spring with an irregular dark green center surrounded by pale green. Like the species, this shrub will grow to as much as 15’ tall and as wide over the first ten years. Plants of this species are usually the last native flowering plants to bloom in Missouri each year.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Occasional insect galls (small wasps) appear on the foliage. Japanese beetles may chew on the leaves in some areas.

Garden Uses

Shrub borders, woodland gardens. Screen or tall hedge.

Best sited in an area where the foliage can be observed close up.