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There is a new kid on the block — distylium hybrids

Distylium hybrids are an exciting new arrival in the nursery trade. They are a Southern gardener’s dream plant because they are evergreen, compact, disease and insect resistant and are heat and drought tolerant. Distylium hybrids will also grow in wet soils.

Another attribute is that the plants require very little pruning. In addition to this, they produce a small reddish maroon flower from late January until March. They are a member of the witch hazel family and a distant cousin to the common witch hazel, Hamamelis Virginiana, which is native to our region of the south.

Due to their toughness, Distylium hybrids are an excellent alternative to junipers, hollies, Indian hawthorns and boxwoods.

Depending on the variety, the cascading growth habit ranges from three to ten feet in height and four to eight feet wide. Their foliage color can be dark green, blue green or copper depending on variety.

They will grow in full sun or light shade. When planted in shaded areas, Distyliums will have a looser shape.

If all of this doesn’t seem great enough — the plants have shown a high resistance to deer and rabbits munching on them.

As long as I have been in this business, it takes an awful lot to get me excited about a plant. Well guess what – I’m excited and am looking forward to including this plant in my new landscape.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.