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Fothergilla gardenii (Dwarf witchalder)
Smith, R.W.

Fothergilla gardenii

Fothergilla gardenii L.

Dwarf Witchalder, Dwarf Witch-alder, Dwarf Fothergilla

Hamamelidaceae (Witch-Hazel Family)

Synonym(s): Fothergilla parvifolia

USDA Symbol: Foga

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Small, mound-shaped shrub usually to 3 ft. tall with picturesquely crooked, multiple stems. The flower, appearing as a mass of stamens, is white and occurs before the leaves in thimble-like terminal spikes. Dense, dark green, leathery foliage becomes bright yellow to scarlet-red in fall.


From the Image Gallery

23 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , FL , GA , NC , SC
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from NC to MS & TN
Native Habitat: Sunny, higher ground in swamps & adjacent moist, grassy areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Well-drained, acid, peaty or sandy loams.
Conditions Comments: Very disease and insect resistant. Fits well in a woodland garden of azaleas and rhododendrons. Always avoid very dry sites. To get the best floral and fall foliage display, give fothergillas as much sunshine as possible. This species will tolerate, but not thrive in slightly basic soils. It is best grown in acidic conditions.


Use Wildlife: Low.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Semi-hardwood cuttings root with or without hormone. Rooted cuttings should not be moved until new vegetative growth is over an inch long or normal winter dormancy is completed. Sucker can be separated to increase the plant. Progagation by seed is tric
Seed Treatment: Seed requires at least a six month warm-moist period, followed by a three month period of cold stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Shrub for part shade for hedge in Holly Ridge NC
April 07, 2010
We live in Coastal NC. We would like a type of shrub for the front of our home which is partial shade, similar style to a boxwood or trainable hedge. What NC native would compare?
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Fothergilla gardenii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Fothergilla gardenii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Fothergilla gardenii


Record Modified: 2023-02-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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