Hamamelis japonica 'Canary Yellow'
Common Name: witch hazel 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: February to March
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer, Erosion, Clay Soil


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. Some tolerance for clay soils. Promptly remove any suckers that may occur to prevent colonial spread. Prune in spring after flowering to control shape and size.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hamamelis japonica, commonly called Japanese witch hazel, is an upright, open, medium to large, suckering, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 10-15' tall with a rounded, spreading shape. It is native to mountainous areas of Japan. It is particularly noted for its mildly fragrant pale yellow winter flowers, attractive medium to dark green summer foliage (broad ovate to obovate leaves to 4" long) and yellow/red/purple fall color. Flowers typically bloom for up to 4 weeks during the period of February-March. Each flower has four narrow strap-shaped petals that are crinkled.

H. japonica is very similar in appearance to H. virginica. H. japonica and H. mollis are the parents of the popular H. x intermedia cultivars.

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 of Japan.

'Canary Yellow' features unscented canary yellow flowers that bloom in axillary clusters along bare stems in February and March (late bloomer). Each flower has four, narrow, ribbon-like petals (each to 5/8" long) that are yellow. Calyx is brownish-red. Obovate leaves (to 3" long) mature to dark green. Fall color is yellow.


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. Insect and disease issues are typically not serious and rarely warrant chemical control.


Shrub borders, woodland gardens or backgrounds. Screen or tall hedge. Good as a specimen or in groups.