Corkscrew hazel - planting, care and propagation


The corkscrew hazel is ideal as an eye-catcher in the garden. We show you what is important for care and how you can increase it.

© simona /

The corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana "Contorta") is a real eye-catcher. Its twisted branches give the plant an extraordinarily bizarre appearance. The shrubs are ideal for individual garden design and romantics in particular are fascinated by this special form of conventional hazelnut. The fact that the nuts are not harvested until ten years after planting seems to be irrelevant given the pretty sight.

Small plant description

Corkscrew Hazel (Corylus avellana 'Contorta')
Growth rate:20 - 50 cm a year
Height:200-250 cm
Spread:150-200 cm
Root system:Flachwurzler
Location:Sun to partial shade
Ground:normal garden floor
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The corkscrew hazel is a special form of the common hazelnut bush. Originally it was assumed that the strongly twisted branches are the result of a spontaneous mutation. Meanwhile, a disease of the hazelnut is regarded as the cause.

The corkscrew hazel caused a sensation in England for the first time around 1900. The hazelnut belongs to the birch family and is widespread in Central Europe as well as in Asia Minor. The targeted cultivation goes far back due to the tasty nut fruits.

When planting the hobby gardener can assume that his grandchildren will still enjoy the corkscrew hazel, because the shrubs can reach an age of up to 100 years.


In old age, the plants form a spreading crown and the branches twist to the ground. The leaves resemble ordinary hazelnuts. The underside is lighter than the top of the leaf, which also has light hair. The leaves differ from ordinary hazelnuts in their wrinkled and rolled appearance.

After a nice yellowing in autumn, the corkscrew hazel loses its leaves and the bizarrely deformed branches dominate the picture in the wintry garden. The hazelnuts are harvested in September and October. The small nuts do not match the usual hazelnut in terms of yield and taste.

Attention: The corkscrew hazel is often confused with the corkscrew willow. However, the willow is significantly larger and is also not botanically related to the corkscrew hazel.


© SusaZoom /

Corkscrew hazels are planted as an ornament. The shrubs look particularly attractive when planted alone. Cultivation in a bucket is also possible. The plants grow moderately and quite compact, so that they are also suitable for smaller gardens.

The twisted branches can be used in many ways. The corkscrew hazel is popular as a decorated Easter shrub or as a decoration, which is attached to the ceiling or a lamp and can be decorated seasonally.

Plant the corkscrew hazel

Find the right location

The botanical name of the corkscrew hazel hides a reference to the preferred location of the plant. Avella is an Italian city not far from Vesuvius. The conditions here are ideal and the hazel has been planted here for a long time.

The corkscrew hazel feels most comfortable in a sunny location. If you cannot show this, you can also plant the shrub in a partially shaded place. The robust shrub will probably not shrink even in the shade, but will grow much more slowly.

Choose the ideal substrate

The hazelnut adapts to its environment. If you want to ensure ideal soil conditions, choose a fresh and well-drained soil. A humus-rich substrate lends itself so that the plant can meet its nutritional needs.

The corkscrew hazel cannot cope with a dense, wet and acidic floor. Then there is a so-called growth depression, which can only be remedied with difficulty.

The hobby gardener should be aware when planting that a location should be found with which the corkscrew hazel copes well for many decades. It is worthwhile if you work the soil specifically and determine the pH of the substrate using an appropriate test. These tests are offered in garden centers for a few euros, can be used without prior knowledge and deliver a reliable result.

Tip: Heavy soils can be made more permeable by adding sand or gravel.

Planting corkscrew hazel - step by step

ideal for the corkscrew hazel: a sunny location - © Sebastian /

Corkscrew hazels can be divided into root-safe and grafted plants. The root-resistant plants are vigorous and particularly robust. However, it will be difficult to get these plants commercially.

The usual goods in the garden market consist of a refined shrub. The common hazelnut serves as the basis. Rarely available, but definitely a buy recommendation are refinements on the Turkish hazel.

The corkscrew hazel deserves a unique position in the bed. On the one hand, the root system is significantly wider and on the other hand, the graceful growth will only really come into its own as a solitary plant.

Planting in the bed

1. Determine location
2. Prepare the soil
3. Water the plant
4. Dig out the planting hole
5. Apply fertilizer
6. Insert the plant
7. Close the planting hole
8. Press on the earth
9. Water the plant well

Spring and autumn are ideal for planting the corkscrew hazel. As a rule, the corkscrew hazel is sold as bale goods. Those who buy bare root plants should plant them between early October and mid-November.

The root ball is potted in a bucket of water and should soak up moisture. In the meantime, the planting hole is dug out. Be sure to keep at least twice the size of the root ball.

After the plant is placed in the pit, the substrate is mixed with compost and horn shavings. This provides the corkscrew hazel with sufficient nutrients after planting.

Tip: After planting, a watering edge should be put on. This allows the corkscrew bush to absorb rainwater and irrigation water better. To do this, the watering edge should drop towards the plant.

Planting in a bucket

1. Select planter
2. Prepare earth
3. Water the plant
4. Create drainage
5. Insert the plant
6. Fill up the substrate
7. Water the plant
8. Fertilize the plant

The planter should never be too small. Otherwise the corkscrew hazel atrophies. You should assume a minimum volume of 30 liters. Make sure that there are sufficient drain holes in the bottom of the vessel so that the liquid does not jam in the bucket.

Compost-based potting soil is recommended as a substrate. Container plants have an increased need for nutrients and should be supplied with a liquid fertilizer every 14 days during the growth phase.

An overview of the most important planting tips

Find location
  • sunny to partially shaded
  • warm
  • airy
Prepare the substrate
  • warm
  • permeable
  • fresh
  • wet
Make planting
  • unique
  • water before planting
  • Dig out the planting hole twice the size of the root ball

Maintain corkscrew hazel

Pour corkscrew hazel properly

After planting, the corkscrew hazel must be watered sufficiently so that it can root well. Later the shrub is watered rather sporadically. The floor may be damp, but waterlogging is not tolerated. On hot days, the hose can be watered so that the plant can absorb sufficient moisture.

Fertilize the corkscrew hazel properly

In the open it is sufficient if the corkscrew hazel is supplied with compost or a commercially available multi-nutrient fertilizer in spring. In potted culture, fertilization should take place regularly during the growing season.

Does the corkscrew hazel need to be cut?

Corkscrew hazelnuts with annual shape cuts - © photophlox /

Regular cutting measures are not necessary. The natural form of growth has its own fascination. Wild plants should be removed regularly from grafted plants.

Tip: Wild shoots can be easily recognized by their straight growth.

Since corkscrew filaments are very compatible with cutting, there is no reason not to carry out an annual top-cut at will.

The most important care tips at a glance

to water
  • water moderately
  • The floor must not dry out
  • Waterlogging is not tolerated
  • Spring compost
  • during the growth phase, multi-nutrient fertilizer
  • Fertilize container plants regularly
To cut
  • no regular cut necessary
  • Remove game shoots
  • Thinning possible in spring

Multiply the corkscrew hazel

In nurseries, plants are propagated with the help of grafting. However, this is a matter for gardeners and will not be described here in detail. The hobby gardener has the option of propagating the plant using cuttings or offshoots.

Propagation by cuttings

For this, a woodless shoot about 20 centimeters long is cut. The cut should be made just under one eye. Two to four pairs of leaves are left on the shoot. The lower shoots are completely removed.

A flowerpot is filled with a peat-sand mixture and about two thirds of the cutting is placed in the substrate. If the cuttings are cut in autumn, they root over the winter on the warm flower window and can move outdoors in spring.

Propagation by offshoot

The long, flexible shoots of the corkscrew hazel are well suited for propagation by offshoots. A suitable branch is pulled down to the ground and buried in a gutter about ten centimeters deep.

The shoot tip is attached to a wooden stick so that it grows upright. The soil is regularly poured and rooting is awaited. After a few months, the offshoot can be separated from the mother plant and cultivated as an independent plant.

Detect and combat diseases and pests on the corkscrew hazel

Hazelnut drill - © Michael Tieck /

The plants are robust and rarely affected by diseases or pests.
If the soil is too nutritious, the scale root can settle. This parasite plant extracts moisture and nutrients from the hazel.

The hobby gardener is not aware of this for a long time. If the scale root appears on the surface, it can be assumed that the parasite has been wrapped around the roots for around ten years. Scale root can only be removed when the plant is dug up.

The hazelnut drill belongs to the weevils and specializes in hazelnut plants. The females lay the eggs directly in the hazelnuts. The larvae develop there. Infested nuts are not suitable for consumption and should be removed and burned. The beetles are easy to spot and collect.

Winter corkscrew hazel

The corkscrew hazel is hardy. However, young plants can be sensitive to heavy frosts and should therefore be provided with winter protection from leaves, brushwood and raffia mats in the first three years of standing.

Container plants should not spend the winter months outdoors because there is a risk that the root ball will freeze completely and the plant will then no longer be able to supply itself with sufficient nutrients.

Tip: Watering should not be neglected in winter either. Drought causes the greatest winter damage to the corkscrew hazel.