Corylus Contorta


1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.

2. USDA Hardiness Zones - 4 to 9.

3. Planting Distance - 10 feet apart in ground.

4. Mature Height/Spread - 8 to 10 feet tall and 5 to 6 feet wide. Slow growing, it reaches its mature size in 5 or more years.

5. Bloom Time - Late winter.

6. Planting Instructions - Dig a hole at least twice the size of the root mass on each of the dormant bare-root plants.  Partially backfill the hole and position the root ball in the hole.  Position the plant so the previous soil line will be even with ground level. (The stem/trunk will be darker in color below the original planting line and lighter in color above it).  Once the plant is positioned at the proper planting depth, begin filling the hole with soil. Work the soil around the roots with your hands.  When the hole is half filled, tamp the soil to remove any air pockets.  Fill the planting hole with water and allow it to soak in. Straighten the plant in the hole and finish filling with soil.  Leave a saucer-like depression around the stems to allow for moisture accumulation and retention. Water thoroughly after planting. 


Corylus contorta is a staple in the gardens of those who prefer unusual yet easy-care plants. This small tree or large shrub, a European filbert cultivar, has twisted and curled branches and twigs, giving it an overall bizarre, yet attractive, appearance. It was discovered on a fencerow around 1863 in Gloucestershire, England, and is named after Harry Lauder, one of Britain's' most celebrated music hall comic/singers from the early 20th century (who is still Scotland's highest selling recording artist of all time). Some photographs show him with a contorted walking stick; thus, the nickname "Harry Lauder's Walking Stick". This shrub is a standout in the winter landscape and few plants make as much of an impact as Harry Lauder's walking stick that grows 8-10 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide. With its small size, it is ideal for containers or small garden spaces due to its slow to medium growth habit. It performs well in full to part sun in well-drained moist garden soil and is hardy in zones 4 through 9. 


Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office.  These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance.  See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.

3.  After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.


Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground.  Do not allow plants in containers to dry out.  In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.  You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

Grooming - Clip off unsightly or dead growth to maintain good form and shape.  

Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.

Winterizing - The time to protect your plants in the garden is after the ground has frozen. At that time, apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.

For container planting, move plants next to your home's southern foundation for added warmth and protection. They may also be moved into an unheated, protected area such as a garage or cellar. If moved to a protected area be sure you water them well once every 7 to 10 days.

In spring, remove the mulch from in-ground plantings.  Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.   


CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.