Are there any trees or shrubs that bloom in winter?

Question: 

Are there any trees or shrubs that bloom in winter?

Answer: 

While most trees and shrubs bloom in spring or summer, witch hazels are a notable exception. Common witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms from mid-October to early December.  Vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) and the intermedia witch hazels (hybrids resulting from crosses between Japanese and Chinese witch hazels) flower from early February to late March.  

Witch hazel flowers consist of four, strap-like petals which curl up on cold days and unfurl in warm weather.  Common witch hazel, a large shrub or small tree which grows 20 to 25 feet tall, produces yellow flowers.  The flowers of vernal witch hazel vary from yellow to brownish red.  Hamamelis vernalis may eventually attain a height of 10 feet.  The flowers on intermedia witch hazels (Hamamelis x intermedia) range in color from yellow to orange to red to purple (depending on the cultivar).  

Notable cultivars of common witch hazel include

  • ‘Harvest Moon’ (lemon yellow flowers, vase-shaped habit, grows 15 to 20 feet tall)
  • ‘Little Suzie’ (soft yellow flowers, 4 to 6 feet tall)

Attractive vernal witch hazel cultivars

  • ‘Autumn Embers’ (copper-red flowers, 8 to 10 feet tall)
  • ‘Amethyst’ (reddish purple flowers, 6 to 8 feet tall)
  • ‘Carnea’ (burgundy red flowers, 6 to 8 feet tall)

Popular intermedia witch hazel cultivars

  • ‘Arnold Promise’ (bright yellow flowers, 12 to 15 feet tall)
  • ‘Diane’ (copper red flowers, 8 to 12 feet tall)
  • ‘Jelena’ (coppery orange flowers, 8 to 12 feet tall)
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