General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 6 to 12 feet
Plant Spread: 6 to 12 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Flowers: Showy
Blooms on old wood
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Spring
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Pollinators: Bees

Common names
  • Large Fothergilla
  • Witch Alder
  • Mountain Witchalder
  • Witch-Alder
  • Mountain Witch-Alder
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Fothergilla major
  • Synonym: Fothergilla monticola

  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Apr 30, 2018 8:07 PM concerning plant:
    I remember seeing one good specimen of this beautiful shrub at Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois near the library in the 1980's & 90's. After 2002, the arboretum totally restructured the east side entrance and visitor center areas, and many plants once there were gone. According to Dr. Michael Dirr it was about 60 years old when he saw it in the 1980's. I found a nice large specimen about 15 foot high on the west side of the Morton Arboretum in August 2018 in the Witchhazel Family Collection. It is native to the Appalachians from northern Alabama up into Virginia. The nursery industry has grown lots of selections of the Dwarf Fothergilla (F. gardenia), but has not grown this species very much. I finally saw a few Large Fothergillas being sold at a native plant nursery in southeast Pennsylvania. It is an excellent, high quality, neat, clean ornamental shrub with nice white flowers, handsome foliage, and good fall colour. It is somewhat expensive to to buy. It is medium in rate growing in youth and lives up to about 100 years. It grows in soils that are gravelly, stony, sandy, silt loams, not heavy clay, that are acid, perhaps up to pH 7.0.

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