Fothergilla- A Deer Resistant, 3-Season Stunner

Fothergilla in bloom - photo by Laura McKillop

"Fothergillas, ask so little from gardeners, 
yet give so much; 
all friends should exhibit this kind of relationship."

 -  Michael A. Dirr

I adore Fothergilla gardenii Mt Airy.

Fothergilla is native to the Appalachians, is deer resistant  and sports fragrant, honey scented, early spring flowers before the leaves come out.

The flowers are white, short bottlebrush spikes that light up a sunny to partial sun woodland corner. The flowers are followed by blue green, heavily textured foliage.

Photo from Robs Plants Website -

'Mt Airy' is a dwarf form and got its name from the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. When compared to the native species, Mt. Airy Fothergilla has more vibrant multicolored foliage in shades of yellow, orange and red in October through mid-November.

This fall color is the best! It is spell binding in the garden....

 Photo for Monrovia by Doris Wyjna

Photo by Plant Introductions, Inc

 I like to use 'Mt Airy' in combination with Fargesia, Manhattan Euonymus, hakonechloa, ferns and viburnums. I mass them in groups of 3 or more. They grow to 3 - 4 feet in height and tolerate moist soil...Zones 5-8.

 And now there is the cultivar ‘Blue Shadow’!  This exciting introduction originated as a sport from Fothergilla major 'Mt. Airy' and is blessed with the same vigorous constitution and habit..

 It has steely blue summer leaves with the same outstanding autumn display of rich yellow, red and orange.  

Blue Shadow is a medium-size deciduous shrub 5 to 6' high and wide and easily adapts to sun or partial shade. It is tolerant to a wide range of soil and environmental conditions, needs little pruning and has no major disease or insect problems.

And don't forget the shorter 'Blue Mist' dwarf Fothergilla (fothergilla gardenii Blue Mist) . It makes a great low hedge and is attractive in three seasons - the brilliant yellow, red, orange fall coloration is a show stopper. Grows 2' - 3' tall. Plant in non-alkaline soil.

Blue Mist Fothergilla gardenii  - photo from  Monrovia


  1. I love that, but live in zone 3-4. Got anything similar for this area?

  2. All cultivars of Lilac would be good...and Viburnum dentatum 'Autumn Jazz'

    1. Thanks. I'll check them out.


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