Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The best fall color shrub: Fothergilla gardenii

The leaves are now off most of the trees, but there are still a few spots of color, and good ones too.

My favorite shrub for fall color, though it turns later than many, is the dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii), which glows red, burgundy, yellow and orange all at once - and it's doing this right now.

Although native to the Southeast, ranging from the Carolinas to north Florida, and west toward the Mississippi River basin, Fothergillas are not a terribly well-known shrubs.

Dwarf Fothergilla only grows three feet or so tall, which makes it a very practical size for most gardens. In spring it has creamy white bottlebrush flowers that combine particularly well with 'Spring Green' tulips.

For more information on Fothergilla gardenii, and its taller relative, here's a good article from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.


  1. I agree! I have some fothergilla and they are in full glorious color right now. They don't get over about 3 feet, never really need pruning, have some bloom in the spring...what more can you ask of a shrub?

  2. This is a lovely shrub. Do you think it would do well in central Florida? I read in the article that it grows in northern Florida.

  3. I don't know, Kim. I live in southern Ontario and we can't grow lots plants that you can. Why don't you check at your local garden center?

    Cheers, Yvonne

  4. By the looks of your photographs you have a beautiful garden. I like the grasses and the autumn color!

  5. Your shrub is beautiful. This is the first year I've planted the Fothergilla and mine is a very dull yellow-brown, not at all like yours. Should this be cut back at all? The paperwork I received did not mention cutting it back.

  6. Whatever you do, don't cut this shrub back. It's slow growing enough as it is. I don't know why you're not getting the fall color from it. Ours have unfailingly had great color each fall, even in bad drought years.

  7. Yvonne I'm not sure if you are still posting .. I haven't seen a new one in a while. BUT .. I came across this post on the fothergilla which I stumbled upon on Garden Import (while ordering Ballerina climbing rose) .. I am a sucker for wonderful Autumn colours and this certainly looks amazing ! So I am going ahead with my order with your information as an extra nudge towards buying this shrub .. thank you !
    Joy : )
    PS .. Hope all is well with you at your gorgeous place in the country !


Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener