The Q&A Archives: Best shrub

Question: An east facing exposure which has proven too hot for rhododendron. On either side of a front door, I need a shrub with 4-season interest. 4-5 feet tall, up to 10 feet wide, Zone 5. Any suggestions? I am thinking of fothergilla Mt Airy but I hate to invest and then find out I hate it.

Answer: Mount Airy Fothergilla is a hybrid of Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf Witch Fothergilla, which grows 3 to 5 feet) & F. major (Large or Mountain Fothergilla, 8 to 12 feet), resulting in an intermediate-sized 4 to 8 foot shrub. It responds well to pruning so you can keep it just the size you want.

It has a strong upright habit, as wide as it gets tall. The leaves in spring & summer are a wonderful bluish green adding excellent texture to an array of shrubs. The foliage turns the most startling orange, red, purple & yellow in autumn.

It flowers best in full sun, and develops more intense autumn colors when it gets plenty of sun, though it is highy adaptable so will thrive in part shade.

I think Fothergilla is an excellent choice for the site you describe. Enjoy!

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