Arnold Promise Witchhazel in bloom

Arnold Promise Witchhazel in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Arnold Promise Witchhazel flowers

Arnold Promise Witchhazel flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 15 feet


Hardiness Zone: 5


This large, spreading shrub brings color and fragrance to the late winter garden when most other plants are still dormant; deliciously fragrant bright yellow flowers with reddish centers appear along the bare branches, flowers into early spring

Ornamental Features

Arnold Promise Witchhazel is bathed in stunning fragrant yellow strap-like flowers with red calyces along the branches from late winter to early spring before the leaves. It has green foliage throughout the season. The serrated round leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Arnold Promise Witchhazel is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. Deer don’t particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Arnold Promise Witchhazel is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Arnold Promise Witchhazel will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for acidic soils, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid.

Outstanding Qualities

Witchhazels are cherished for their exquisitely fragrant, spidery flowers just when we need them most: winter. ‘Arnold Promise’ is a vigorous cultivar. Its branches are upright when young but soon spread widely. It produces large, clear yellow flowers with reddish centers, it blooms slightly later than other related cultivars. Depending on the weather, its flowers appear on bare branches in about January and remain until early March. Curious seed capsules appear in late summer. Its handsome leaves turn yellow-orange in autumn. The wide shape of witchhazels allows for generous underplantings of companion plants, late-winter-blooming ones for complement or summer-blooming ones to extend the season of interest. At Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden, the extensive witchhazel collection is underplanted with a sea of blue creeping forget-me-not (Omphalodes verna) – a stunning combination.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: vase-shaped shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 9

Flower Color: yellow

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun to light or open shade

Water Requirements: occassional watering

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: bronze, chartreuse, blue

Great Color Partners: dark green, silver


  • Classification: Plants

Scientific Name
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’

This variety of witch hazel is a hybrid of two Asian witch hazels, one from Japan and one from China. Arnold’s Promise is used widely throughout the U.S. in the landscape industry.

Original varieties were naturally adapted to living in mixed woodlands of evergreens and deciduous forest trees as an understory shrub.

Growth Nature
Grows as a large, deciduous shrub, reaching heights of up to 20 ft. and spreading to about 20 ft. Easy to grow in the typical landscape; it does best in organically rich, moist but well drained soils. Slight acidity to the soil is also beneficial to this Witch hazel.

Points of Interest

  • Extracts from the plant are used medically as an astringent.
  • The name Arnold’s Promise comes from the fact that this variety was originally introduced in the U.S. in 1928 by the Harvard University Arnold Arboretum.
  • Good place for transitional zones in the landscape, such as near undisturbed wild areas or to separate cultivated areas. Used as hedge.
  • Good specimen plant for late winter flowers and attractive foliage for fall color.

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