How to Grow Fothergilla gardenii Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Dwarf Fothergilla

The Fothergilla gardenii plant is a slow growing shrub. There are two members in the genus, the other being Fothergilla major. The Alabama witch alder (Fothergilla monticola) is usually classified into the major genus.

These ornamental plants are usually grown both for their attractive spring flowers and their colorful autumn leaves.

Dwarf fothergilla

Fothergilla photograph by Lynn.

Plants typically reach about three feet (90 cm) in height.

They carry small fragrant flowers on terminal spikes in the spring, and their dark green leaves turn a lovely color in the autumn, ranging from yellow through to bright red.

Quick Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Fothergilla gardenii
  • Common Name (s): Dwarf fothergilla, Witch Alder, American wych hazel, Dwarf witchalder
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 5 to 8 / H5

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Deciduous shrub. Compact and slow growing.
  • Plant Height: 18 to 36 inches (45 to 90 cm)
  • Plant Spread: 24 to 48 inches (60 to 1.2 m)
  • Blooms: Mid to late spring
  • Flower Details: White. Fragrant. Showy. Catkin-like inflorescent spikes to 1.5 inches (4 cm).
  • Leaf Foliages: Broadly Ovate. Dark green leaves appear once flowering has completed. These turn yellow, orange, and crimson red in the fall.

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun (best results) and partial shade / afternoon shade in hot areas
  • Suitable Soil Types: Sandy loams. Well drained, does not like heavy soils.
  • Suitable Soil pH: Acidic soils
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Medium
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Can spread from root suckers. grow from softwood cuttings in the summer.
  • Care: Lightly prune to remove damaged and diseased tissue; once pruned provide a mulch and a light feed.

Further Information

  • Best Garden Use: Fall color, massed, flower borders, woodland, cottage garden.
  • Family: Hamamelidaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Witch hazel.
  • Miscellaneous: USA native plant. Two seeded fruit.
  • Further Reading and References used: Wikipedia; MBG

Common Questions

How many members does the Fothergilla genus have?

The Fothergilla genus contains two or three recognized species.

Do members of Fothergilla make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Fothergilla plants are excellent for gardens due to their vibrant fall colors and fragrant spring flowers.

Which Fothergilla species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Fothergilla) and Fothergilla major (Large Fothergilla) are commonly grown by gardeners.

Are members of the Fothergilla plant genus fragrant?

Yes, Fothergilla species produce fragrant flowers in the spring.

What is the perfect location to grow Fothergilla?

Fothergilla plants prefer a sunny to partly shady location with well-drained, acidic soil.

Is Fothergilla invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Fothergilla is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Fothergilla plants from my garden?

To remove Fothergilla, dig up the entire plant, ensuring you remove as much of the root system as possible.


The Fothergilla genus includes a couple of species of flowering plants native to the southeastern United States. These deciduous shrubs are admired for their bottlebrush-like flowers, which appear in spring, and their vibrant fall foliage.

Fothergilla plants prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil. They can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Excellent in borders or as specimen plants, they provide multi-season interest with their spring flowers, summer foliage, and fall color. They are also deer-resistant and can attract butterflies.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Fothergilla plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ shrub growing guides: How to grow Pieris japonica and Amelanchier alnifolia plants.