Why plant Audubon® Native Common Witchhazel?
What a treat it is to discover American Witch Hazel blooming in late fall! This quirky, nonconforming native Accent waits until October and November to unfurl its blossoms. The flowers, composed of four narrow petals, look like wee yellow streamers, and they smell like sweet tea. American Witch Hazel is a fun plant to include in your bird-friendly habitat garden. Its foliage hosts a variety of moth larvae, which in turn nourish songbirds (and their chicks), and its twiggy, herringbone framework makes a super nesting site for thicket-dwelling birds like flycatchers, wood thrushes, and Indigo Buntings.
American Witch Hazel has long had a place in our medicine cabinets. Beginning with the earliest Native Americans, who used its bark and leaves to treat sores, eye infections, and colds, people have claimed it has healing powers. During the Victorian Era, Witch Hazel extract was distilled and used in some of the first mass-marketed over-the-counter medicines and toiletries. Even today, you can find Witch Hazel featured as an ingredient in aftershave, face cleanser, makeup remover, and hemorrhoid cream! The plant is found in open woods and floodplains from Maine to Florida and west to Wisconsin and Texas.
How to use Audubon® Native Common Witchhazel in the landscape?
In rural areas, Ruffed Grouse and Turkeys may feed on the seeds of American Witch Hazel, but they may have to do some searching for them. Once the seeds are ripe (which takes a whole year), they’re fired like a bullet from their pods! They may land 10, 20, or even 30 feet from the parent plant.
Hardiness Zone: 4-8
How To Plant Audubon® Native Common Witchhazel
Native to moist, open woods and shady stream sides, American Witch Hazel likewise prefers a somewhat sheltered place in the garden in rich, deep soil that drains well but does not dry out. Full sun is acceptable, but not ideal, at least in hot climates—give it a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day. American Witch Hazel is otherwise undemanding, hardy (to at least -30ºF), and easy to please. It will grow fast in youth, slowing down after several years. If it gets too large, you can prune it back hard. It will quickly rejuvenate itself.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.