Photo: Bob Gutowski (flickr)
Our native witch alder, Fothergilla, comes from the southeastern United States.
F. gardenia is a dwarf variety and grows two to three feet tall, with the same spread. Fragrant white flowers that look like pussy willows are produced on naked stems in April and May. These flowering stems are wonderful for indoor displays.
The leaves that follow the flowers are dark green in summer and orange and yellow in autumn, so this shrub has nice variety across the seasons, and it has the additional bonus of being trouble-free.
Plant witch alder near evergreens so the fallen needles provide the acidity in the soil that this shrub likes. This shrub can be used in foundation plantings and borders and combines well with rhododendrons.
Fothergilla major ‘Mt. Airy’ is a tall five to nine foot shrub that can be used as a deciduous hedge. If you feel it would work in your garden, try a serpentine hedge.
The hybrid Fothergilla ‘intermedia’ is compact and blooms early in late winter and has red fall color.
The dwarf ‘Blue Mist’ is two to three feet tall and has blue-tinted foliage and deliciously honey- scented spring flowers and bright fall color.
In zones 5 to 9 our native witch-alders grow in full sun to part shade, (They prefer more shade in hot summers.), and are lovely additions to any garden.