Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fothergilla

A long lived forest understory plant in the wild; the Fothergilla grows well in partial shade though it can also grow well in full sun where its autumn leaf color is more intense if it is not subjected to drought. It prefers moist, rich, light, well drained soils though based on my own experience with this plant, it isn't terribly fussy ( and I've used it alot never loosing a single one ).
Can tolerate spring flooding however root diseases can be a problem in the south on heavier soils. Other than that, the Fothergilla is almost entirely free of pest or diseases. Thought not native to the Northeast U.S. & Midwest, it grows exceptionally well ( except on unamended Midwest alkaline clays ) there and should be planted ALOT more! I give this plant a 10 / 10 for sheer beauty and multi season interest!
Propagation is from seed sown fresh, layering or softwood cuttings taken in summer.
Fothergillas do not like being transplanted however I have had alot of success and quick establishment with 1, 2 or 3 gallon size container plants. Never actually seen it sold ball and burlap and I wouldn't try it anyway. Transplanting is best in early spring before growth and second best in the fall or in winter in the Deep South.
Most Fothergillas are hardy to temperatures as low as -30 F, like many Southern U.S. plants they're natural range was pushed back by the previous ice age and they still retain their adaptation for northerly climates. The Fothergilla's foliage remains green late into autumn when it finally turns into an intense festival of color.
The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, Fothergilla is not eaten by deer.




Fothergilla gardenii
The smaller of the 2 Fothergillas; this one is native to the southeast U.S. ( from Tennessee to North Carolina; south to Alabama to the Florida panhandle ). It is endangered in the wild.
Generally reaching around 3 to 4 feet in height, with ideal growing conditions it can become much larger with great age. The largest on record is 10 x 9 feet. Generally slow to moderately growing, the maximum growth rate is 2 feet or 5.5 feet in height in 7 years.
The oval leaves are irregularly toothed and up to 4 x 2.5 inches in size. The foliage is deep green.
The white bottlebrush flowers are slightly honey scented fragrant and last up to 4 weeks appearing early in the spring before the leaves.
A great foundation plant never needing pruning.
Easy to grow and hardy zones 4 to 8.

* photos taken on Apr 25 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 14 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 14 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 19 2016 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photos taken on Apr 28 2017 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on July 1 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Aug 4 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Oct 18 2017 in Columbia, MD


'Beaver Creek'
A very compact, rounded dwarf form; only reaching 4 x 4 feet in 10 years.
The thick, lush, blue-green foliage turn to brilliant scarlet red mixed with some yellow and orange during autumn.
It blooms very heavily during early spring.
Hardy zones 4 to 8

* photos taken Apr 11 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC



'Blue Mist'
Reaches up to 6 x 6 ( rarely over 4 ) feet in size.
The foliage is larger ( up to 5 x 4 inch on vigorous shoots ) and is glaucous-blue. The leathery foliage may turn orange or red during autumn but the autumn color is generally not as impressive as other cultivars.
The very showy, fragrant, white bottlebrush flower spikes up to 2 inches in length, persist up to 2 weeks during spring.
Hardy zones 5 to 8 ( it does not enjoy full sun south of zone 6 ).

* photo taken on April 10 2010 in Howard County, MD

* photo taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ U.S. Botanical Gardens, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Nov 8 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 2 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Nov 17 2015 in Columbia, MD


'Mt Airy' ( Mt. Airy Fothergilla )
A medium-sized shrub that can reach up to 5 x 5 feet in 10 years, 7 x 7 feet in 15 years and with great age up to 8 x 8 feet ( record height is 10 feet ). More vigorous than Fothergilla gardenii - growth rates as much as 4 feet have been recorded under ideal conditions.
Its leaves are also larger, up to 6 x 5 inches in size. The very attractive luxuriant dark green summer foliage turns to yellow, orange and red during autumn often with all colors on the same plant.
The flower buds are hardy down to -25 F and in bloom the white bottlebrush flowers are spectacular against a darker background such as evergreens.

* photos taken on April 23 2010 in Columbia, MD




* photo taken on May 16 2010 @ Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD

* photos taken on Aug 17 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photo taken on Nov 10 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 2 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Nov 2 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Nov 14 2016 in Howard Co., MD

* photos taken on Nov 28 2016 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Apr 20 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on Apr 28 2017 in Ellicott City, MD

* photo taken on June 3 2017 in Howard Co., MD

* photo taken on Dec 1 2017 in Howard Co., MD


'Suzanne'
A very compact, dwarf form, reaching only 2.5 x 3 feet in size.
The mid-green foliage turns to intense orange-red during autumn.
The flowers are typical of the species.
Hardy north to zone 5.

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD


Fothergilla major ( Large Fothergilla )
Native to woodlands of the Alleghany Mountains of the southeast U.S. from Alabama to Virginia; this species is the larger of the 2 Fothergillas with a more erect habit. It can reach over 5 feet in height and can sometimes reach up to 15 x 13 feet. The tallest ever recorded is 23 feet and single plants have been known to cover as much as 500 square feet, spreading by root sprouts. The Large Fothergilla is usually somewhat slow growing, though rates as much as 3 feet are known.
The foliage is larger than F. gardenii reaching up to 6 x 5 inches in size and is dark green above and glaucous below. The late fall color is intense and scarlet red often with yellows and oranges mixed in as well.
The white flower spikes in spring are fragrant and are tinged pink.
It blooms when Fothergilla gardenii is already in full leaf.
An exceptionally beautiful shrub hardy from zones 4 to 9 tolerating as low as -30 F despite its native origins.

* photo taken @ U.S. National Arboretum on October 2002


* photo taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken @ U.S. Botanical Garden, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


'Blue Shadow'
Reaches up to 6 x 7 feet in size with blue-green, rounded foliage that turns to orange and red in autumn.
The very fragrant, bottlebrush flowers, up to 2 inches in length, are white.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken on Apr 23 2017 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

* photos taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA


'May Bouquet'
An upright "all season" beautiful shrub reaching up to 6 x 4 feet in 10 years, eventually to 8 x 5 feet.
Its lush green foliage turns golden yellow instead of red in autumn and in spring it blooms prolifically with sweetly fragrant, large creamy-white bottlebrush flowers.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

'Red Licorice'
Similar to species, however reaching around 10 x 10 feet with intense scarlet-red autumn foliage with few rivals.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

* photo taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on Aug 24 2017 @ U.S. Botanic Garden, Wash. DC.


'Red Monarch'
A dense upright shrub with dense luxuriant foliage that turns intense fiery red in autumn. The Red Monarch Fothergilla can reach up to 6 x 4 feet in 10 years and eventually grow to 8 x 6 feet. This shrub is an excellent native replacement that is in many ways superior to Euonymus alata ( Burningbush ).
In late spring this very attractive shrub is covered in sweetly scented creamy white flowers.
Hardy zones 4 to 8

1 comment:

  1. I have a new gardenii (planted in June). I live in southern NJ. We had 3 prolonged heat waves after it was planted, but I kept it watered and it has survived. But it lost a number of leaves -- they just shriveled up. And a lot of the remaining leaves have black spots, sometimes taking up half the leaf, sometimes multiple and small. The newest growth doesn't seem to have very many black spots. What is causing this? Is it a disease? We have a chipmunk problem -- could they be causing it? The soil is loose and well-mulched.

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