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Zones 2B, 3-9, 14-17, 31-39
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Moderate

Fothergilla

Hamamelidaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs

Native to the southeastern U.S. Grown mainly for its fall foliage color, but spring bloom is pretty: small, honey-scented white flowers in 1–2-in., brushlike clusters appear on zigzagging stems, either before or with the leaves. Per­forms best in moist, well-drained, acid soil.

Fothergilla gardenii (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Fothergilla gardenii (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Fothergilla gardenii

Typically grows to 2–3 ft. high (though it can grow considerably taller) and as wide or wider, with 1–2 1/2-in.-long, dark green, lopsided leaves. Foliage turns intense yellow to orange to scarlet in autumn, often with all three ­colors in the same leaf. ‘Blue Mist’ is a blue-foliaged variety that doesn’t color up as well in fall.

Fothergilla major ‘Blue Shadow’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Fothergilla major ‘Blue Shadow’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Fothergilla major

Erect shrub grows to 9 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide, with roundish, 2–4-in.-long, somewhat lopsided leaves that turn yellow to orange to purplish red in autumn.

‘Mount Airy’ is smaller (3–5 ft. high and wide), with abundant blooms, good dark green leaf color, and consistently superb fall color in yellow, orange, and scarlet.

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