Fothergilla major 'Mount Airy'
Large Fothergilla
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Family: Witch Hazel Family (Hamamelidaceae)
Native Habitat: southeastern United States


Fothergilla is a wonderful native shrub with three-season interest. The showy and fragrant white flowers are effective for nearly four weeks beginning in April. The summer foliage is leathery, blue-green in color, whitish on the undersides and is not affected by insects or disease. It is one of the most colorful shrubs for fall color with a knockout palette of  yellow, red, and orange.

'Mount Airy' is a clone selected by the well-known author and outstanding plantsman, Michael Dirr. The original plant grows at Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati. It has flowers larger than the usual F. major, superb and consistent fall color, a vigorous constitution, and good hardiness. It has flowered after temperatures as low as -25F.

Careful siteing is necessary to insure success with Fothergilla. Soils should be well-drained but not dry and soil pH is important. Acid to neutral soils are required. Do not plant in alkaline soil. Although it grows nicely in either full sun or part shade, flowering is heaviest and fall color is brightest when grown in full sun. When grown well, this can be a long-lived shrub with individuals surviving well past 60 or 70 years.

Ornamental Characteristics: Bottlebrush-like spikes of white, fragrant flowers in early spring. Blue-green summer foliage. Fantastic fall color.
Habit & Growth Rate: A dense,upright, multi-stemmed shrub growing to 5 or 6 ft. tall. Slow to medium growth rate.
Landscape Uses: Shrub border, groupings, foundation planting. Deer resistant.
Hardiness: Zone 4 to 8
Culture: Full sun to part shade. Well-drained but not dry soil. Acid to neutral soil pH.