The corkscrew hazel is a showy shrub. Its corkscrew-like branches look particularly bare or chic during flowering. In summer, with foliage on it, the overall impression is special, the branches are then not so noticeable. However, the leaves are often twisted somehow. A highlight of this shrub is the flowering, often as early as February. The hanging kittens look really great. The autumn colors are also a real eye-catcher. The leaves are bright yellow.

In the case of corkscrew hazel, a distinction is made between non-root and refined varieties. There are different views on goodness. Often only grafted plants are offered in specialist shops. An ordinary hazelnut serves as a base. Their strong-growing straight shoots often come through and have to be cut out. You don’t have these problems with a real-root plant. The growth of the real-root corkscrew hazel is considered to be stronger and more beautiful (more natural) than that of refined specimens. Incidentally, the corkscrew hazel is probably a mutated variety of the common hazel. However, both varieties are very robust and make a good solitaire in the garden. The nut harvest of the corkscrew hazel was less than that of the common hazel. The branches of the corkscrew hazel are often used in floristry.


Apart from the well-known Coryllus avellana contorta, I did not find much.

  • Corkscrew hazel on a trunk – the trunk becomes increasingly thick and the twisted branches spread unevenly. I’m a big fan of high tribes. I also like the corkscrew hazel so much.
  • ‘Red Majestic’ – the red-leaved corkscrew hazel is a real rarity alongside the green-leaved variant. Due to its bushy, upright and twisted growth, it appears quite bizarre and can reach heights of up to 2.5 m. The kittens are also red.

Corkscrew hazel care

I found quite different information about the size and growth of the corkscrew bunny. On the one hand I read of slowly growing specimens that were only 2.50 to 3 meters high after 10 years and on the other hand of specimens 15 meters high that grow like weeds. I think the refined corkscrew hazels grow slowly and don’t get very big. The real roots, on the other hand, are more vigorous. One should consider that when buying. The size also has an impact on the maintenance, because such large plants may have to be cut more often. It is of course also possible that the very large plants are corkscrew willow (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’).

Otherwise, the corkscrew hazel doesn’t need much maintenance. Water for long periods of drought, fertilizer at the beginning of the season and a cut every now and then. There are not many pests, but if you do, you have to do something about it. When it comes to propagation, it is again crucial whether you want a grafted descendant or a non-rooted one. Both are possible.


The corkscrew hazel can get quite large, 6 to 8 meters high, and grows very bushy. The shrub simply looks best in isolation. You should leave space accordingly.

Anyone who wants to harvest hazelnuts and that in significant quantities must have several hazelnut varieties or the wild species, the common hazelnut, nearby for cross-pollination. If possible, they should not be more than 4 meters away. There are self-pollinated varieties, but the harvest is rather poor with them.

  • Sunny to partially shaded location
  • Even a fairly shady spot is acceptable, but not ideal.
  • Enough space should be left all around.

Plant substrate

With regard to the plant substrate, the corkscrew hazel is very undemanding. It thrives in almost any soil, from slightly acidic to alkaline. However, this hazel does not like strongly acidic or swampy soil at all.

  • The substrate may be slightly damp.
  • Even drought is tolerated well.
  • Prefers fertile locations and well drained soil
  • A sufficient supply of nutrients to the soil is important.


There is nothing special to consider when planting. You dig a corresponding planting hole, water the root ball before planting and then insert the hazel. Then the planting hole is filled and then poured vigorously. The refining point should be just below the ground. Specimens that are planted too high tend to develop root rashes. That is inconvenient.

  • Plant in frost-free soil between October and March
  • If you plant the refined corkscrew hazel a little deeper than usual, you should be able to prevent wild shoots from sprouting. However, in order to prevent the wood from suffocating, you have to leave a large hollow around the planting site, which is only filled in over the course of the following years. This is a very good way of preventing the wild shoots.
  • Corkscrew hazels have long, strong roots. It is therefore advisable not to place them near pipes and sensitive components, paved surfaces or kerbstones.
  • The corkscrew hazel should also not be planted under. After a while she starts to complain. It is a shallow root and you damage roots while planting.
  • If you really want to underplant, plant containers that are open at the bottom should be used all around when planting. Appropriate plants can then be placed in these vessels, which will then also grow well.

Watering and fertilizing

A well-grown corkscrew hazel usually does not need watering. Only young plants and freshly planted specimens need additional water. This wood does not need much fertilizer either. Blue grain is often recommended, but I’m not a big fan of artificial mineral fertilizers. I prefer compost or other organic fertilizers.

  • Watering only in dry seasons and with freshly planted specimens
  • Compost in spring
  • March – blue grain

To cut

A cut is only necessary with the corkscrew hazel if branches are in the way or obstruct each other. Otherwise there is no need to cut, although the wood is very easy to cut. In principle, the hazel can be cut all year round, but it makes more sense to use scissors when it is not leafy. Then the structure of the branches can be seen better. However, you should never cut in frost!

  • Wild shoots that are growing in particular must be cut out regularly and at an early stage.
  • They are cut out right at the base.
  • If you let the shoots stand, the corkscrew hazel loses its beautiful growth.
  • With age, the wood tends to crack the bark at the bottom of the trunk. It also gets bare or dry branches. These are cut out regularly.
  • In old age, the plants quite often bald. They can easily be put on a stick. As a rule, they can also tolerate a radical cut. True-root hazel then grows that much faster.


The corkscrew hazel is basically sufficiently hardy. However, young plants are still a bit sensitive. They should be given some protection in severe and prolonged frost, especially if they are exposed to frequent easterly winds.

  • Protect young shrubs from severe frost
  • Otherwise sufficiently hardy, even without protection.


When propagating, I have often read that it is enough to put a branch in a glass of water. It would take root quite simply. But that’s the corkscrew willow again. It roots really well in a glass of water. Not the hazel, however. Even sticking a branch in the ground doesn’t work, or at least it takes a long time, up to two years. There is also a great risk that they will mutate back. Usually only normal common hazelnut bushes come out of it. Only wild shoots get through in the propagation of cuttings. It is likely that if rooting were so easy, why should the nurseries do such a job with grafting? Even from seeds, only straight shoots grow.

  • Nurseries multiply the corkscrew hazel through grafting.
  • The best time for grafting is spring.
  • For refinement, a piece of root or the root of a common hazel bush is used as a base and a so-called “noble rice”, i.e. a piece of a refined bush. The two parts should have the same thickness, i.e. about the strength of a pencil or a little more. Both parts are cut at an angle so that they fit together well. You put them together to match and wrap them with raffia. There are also special products for such things in stores. After wrapping, it is sealed with tree wax. It is important that the edges of the two refinement areas touch.

Diseases and pests

The corkscrew hazel is a robust and healthy plant. Diseases rarely occur. Now and then, powdery mildew can occur. It looks a little different with cultivation in the bucket. The conditions are often not ideal, which makes it easier for pathogens. It looks similar with pests too. In the garden there is actually only the hazelnut borer, which could be called a pest. Scale insects and spider mites keep appearing in the bucket.

  • Hazelnut borer – weevil, the female of which pierces the nutshell and places its eggs in the shell. The hatching maggots feed on the nut. The only thing that helps here is to inspect the shrub regularly and collect the beetles. Pick up nuts with holes and destroy them, preferably burn them. This is the only way to prevent the spread, also in the next year. The larvae pupate in the ground in autumn and overwinter between the roots, about 25 cm deep. Early varieties are cheap. You are exposed to a lower risk of infestation.
  • Birch sawfly – the caterpillars eat the leaves, which is no longer tragic. It’s just a visual flaw. The corkscrew hazel belongs to the birch family.

The corkscrew hazel is an interesting wood. Especially in spring, during the flowering period, in autumn with its yellow foliage, in winter, in the period without leaves, the hazel looks good with its twisted shoots. In summer it is rather inconspicuous. The corkscrew hazel is a great solitaire and is best placed on its own. Since the plant grows slowly, it is also suitable for smaller gardens. I particularly like the variety with red leaves, that’s something different. This wood is robust and easy to care for. Apart from watering every now and then, fertilizing once a year and cutting if necessary, you don’t have to do anything else. Only the straight shoots that can emerge from the original rhizome are annoying. They need to be severed regularly, as close to the point of emergence as possible.

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