Fothergilla major

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Common Name: Large Fothergilla, Mountain Witch-alder

Sun to light shade; wet to medium moisture level; prefers rich loams but tolerates poorly drained silty clay soil; moderately acid to neutral pH.

6-12 feet height by 6-12 feet spread; blooms in spring, white flowers; hard beaked seed capsules in fall.

Growth Rate:  Slow

Maintenance:  Tremendously disease and insect resistant.  Plant suckers but you can control spread by removing root sprouts that come up on the edges of the clump and by pruning the clump to several larger central stems.

Propagation:  Moderately difficult from cuttings and from seed.  Seed requires 6 months of warm-moist stratification followed by 3 months of cold stratification.

Native Region:  Occurs in 6 counties in East Tennessee — Scott, Anderson, Grainger, Greene, Sevier, and Polk

Designated a “Threatened Species” in Tennessee.  A rare species in the wild but makes a great garden plant, especially at the woodland edge where it fits well with azaleas and rhododendrons.  Grows from a central root system to form a dense, spreading colony.  Delicate flowers have a fragrant, honeyed perfume. Good flowering and color requires at least 2-3 hours of direct sun, and best display requires as much sunshine as possible.  Rich source of nectar for insects.

Large Fothergilla, Mountain Witch-alder - Fothergilla major
Photo Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center