Answer: Witchhazel, Hamamelis, is a lovely, slow growing small tree. There are several types of witchhazel.
Hamamelis virginiana, Common Withhazel, blooms in the fall and grows to about 20 feet; it is native in the eastern US including your area and is hardy from zones 3 to 8.
Hamamelis vernalis, Vernal Witchhazel, grows to about ten feet and blooms in midwinter; it is native to the US, prefers a moister soil, and is hardy in zones 4 - 8.
Hamamelis mollis, Chinese witchhazel, grows to about 15 feet and is hardy in zones 5 - 8. It blooms in early spring. You may find named varieties of this plant such as "Pallida".
There are also related varieties of Hamamelis x intermedia, the most famous of which is probably "Arnold's Promise". Another frequently seen variety is the reddish flowered "Jelena". These bloom in early spring. Hardines varies somewhat based on the variety, with most being hardy to at least zone 6 and some a bit colder.
The early spring blooming witchhazels tend to do best in a sheltered, sunny to partly sunny location with rich, evenly moist, acid soil.
These shrubs are sometimes available at garden centers and from specialty nurseries. To verify availability through Burpee, you might wish to contact Burpee directly at 800-888-1447 or check their online catalog at http://www.burpee.com for current offerings.
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