Hamamelis 'Brevipetala'
Common Name: Chinese witch hazel
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 9.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 9.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: January to March
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
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 is in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils. Consistent moisture is best (leaf scorch may occur during periods of summer drought). Shrubs have some tolerance for clay soils as long as drainage is good. Promptly remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread. It is particularly important to remove root suckers rising from below a graft union. Prune in spring after flowering to control shape and size.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hamamelis is a genus of 5 to 6 species of deciduous shrubs from East Asia and North America. They are grow for their very early late winter through early spring bloom (H. virginiana flowers in autumn.) Plant them where you can enjoy their very early flowers and showy, yellow fall color.

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).

'Brevipetala' is a hybrid cross between Hamamelis mollis and Hamamelis vernalis. It was formerly considered to be a cultivar of H. mollis. This is an upright, vase-shaped, medium to large, deciduous shrub which typically grows in a rounded form to 9-12’ tall and as wide. It features sweetly-scented, short-petaled, deep ochre-yellow flowers which bloom in mid to late winter (January to March in St. Louis) well in advance of the point where the spring foliage begins to emerge. Flower petals are crinkled and tinged with red at the base. Ovate-rounded to obovate, medium to dark green leaves (to 3-6” long) are rough-textured and somewhat pubescent above and sparsely pubescent to glaucous beneath. Yellow-orange to yellow fall color is often not showy, but can be quite attractive in some years. 'Brevipetala' means short-petaled in reference to the flower petals. This cultivar was introduced into commerce in the mid 1930s by Chenault Nursery in Orleans, France.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Caterpillars and Japanese beetles may chew on the leaves. Watch for gall aphids, scale, leafroller and leafminer. Potential diseases include powdery mildew, occasional leaf spots and rots.

Garden Uses

Excellent winter-flowering shrub for the landscape. Shrub borders, woodland gardens. Screen or tall hedge. Good specimen.