Content Detail

Dwarf fothergilla is a small, multi-season shrub with white, bottlebrush-like flowers in spring, blue-green leaves in summer, and turning a kaleidoscope of color in autumn.

  • Family (English) Witch Hazel
  • Family (botanic) Hamamelidaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and Form:

Dwarf fothergilla grows 2 to 3 feet high and wide in a mounded form.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This shrub is native to eastern United States, primarily in coastal regions of North and South Carolina.

Bark color and texture:

Bark is light brown.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

The leaf structure is simple with alternate leaves of blue-green. The leaves are oblong with rounded teeth that are 1 to 3 inches long. Fall color is a mix of yellow, orange, and red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Fragrant white bottlebrush-like flowers in 1 to 2 inch long clusters appear in early spring usually before leaves emerge. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

The fruit is small dried capsules and not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Dwarf fothergilla grows best in part shade but will grow in full sun with adequate moisture. Prefers slightly acidic soil pH with plenty of added organic matter. Shallow-rooted, it benefits with a layer of mulch to moderate soil temperatures and conserve moisture. Water in dry periods. Plants should be pruned after flowering if needed. Best flowering and fall color occurs in full sun.

Pests, diseases and tolerances:

No serious pests. Plants can become chlorotic (yellow leaves) in high pH soils.

Jane Platt Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii ‘Jane Platt’):

This variety has cascading branches, narrow leaves, and yellow-red fall color.

Suzanne Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii ‘Suzanne’):

This compact shrub grows 2 to 3 feet high and has orange-red fall color

Blue Mist fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii ‘Blue Mist’):

This variety is a dense, mounded shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide with outstanding blue-green foliage.

Blue Shadow fothergilla (Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’):

This shrub is a sport of Mount Airy with blue green foliage, a rounded habit 5 to 6 feet high, and orange-red-yellow fall color.

Mount Airy fothergilla (Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Mount Airy’): 

Fothergilla x intermedia is a hybrid of dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii) and large fothergilla (Fothergilla major). ‘Mount Airy’ is a cultivar of this hybrid. It grows 5 to 6 feet high with an upright form. Leaves are dark blue-green, changing to a mix of yellow, red, and orange for fall. It flowers well and is very cold hardy.

Red Monarch™ fothergilla (Fothergilla x intermedia ‘KLMfifteen’):

This shrub has an upright habit reaching 6 to 8 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide and has yellow-orange-red fall color

Windy City fothergilla (Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Windy City’):

This variety grows 3 to 4 feet high and wide in an upright form and offers outstanding fall color.


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