How to grow witch hazel
In this technical sheet we will see how to cultivate the witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana L., 1753) both in open field and in pot, considering that the spontaneous state does not reach dimensions higher than 3-4 meters in height, so if it must be grown in jar should be taken careful gradual pruning to keep it smaller in size by pruning the branches each year, shortening them by about half.
The witch hazel is a rustic shrub, which needs, possibly a sunny area but can withstand very harsh temperatures (even up to -15 ° C) with flowers that bloom even under the snow, giving a special decorative appearance in the period winter.
However, if you are in warmer latitudes, it is advisable to place the witch hazel in a partially shaded place, or in any case protected from the sun during the hottest hours of the day.
This plant, in order to grow easily, needs soft, very fertile and well drained soils; it suffers from clayey and compact soils especially in the drier areas. For its cultivation it must be remembered that since the month of March (especially if the season proceeds little rain) it must be irrigated; irrigation that must be completed with the fall of the first autumn leaves; however, it is always necessary to wait for the soil to dry before irrigating again.
If instead we want to proceed with the cultivation in pot, we must remember that being the roots in contact with little soil, the plant needs in principle more regular waterings, especially in summer. Fertilizers should also be made periodically (roughly from March to October), possibly using liquid ones for potted plants and it is necessary to repulse the witch hazel periodically at least every 2-3 years, in the autumn or late summer period, carefully avoiding stir the bread of earth around the roots.
The opportunity to grow the witch hazel was born from its great properties. In fact, this plant has phlebotonic, astringent, vasoconstrictive, haemostatic and analgesic-antiphlogistic properties. For this reason it is indicated against hemorrhoids and varicose veins; witch hazel therefore possesses antidiarrheal, anti-haemorrhagic, haemostatic, and anti-inflammatory properties, e.g. against gingivitis and oral inflammation.
These peculiarities are given by the presence of tannins contained within the same plant and have been confirmed by numerous studies, so that the use of witch hazel has obtained official approval for the treatment of disorders related to venous circulation, inflammation of skin and mucous, wounds and burns.
In addition, recent studies have shown that the bark of witch hazel has an interesting antiviral activity, especially in relation to the influenza A virus and the human papilloma virus (HPV), even if this application in the medical field it has not yet been approved because further scientific insights are needed.
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