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Fothergilla (Witch Alder) ~ Beautiful Hardy Ornamental Shrubs

Updated on June 3, 2010

Easy To Care For

Looking for a low maintenance, deer resistant, perennial shrub that can be grown in sun or shade? Consider Fothergilla (also known as witch alder). Witch alder, unlike it's better known cousin witch hazel, is not grown for medicinal uses but for its ornamental beauty. Bottle brush shaped flowers appear in the spring giving off a delicious fresh honey scent. Witch alder boasts deep green or blue green foliage during the summer then turns out a beautiful showing of colored leaves in autumn.

This is one of the popular Fothergilla Gardenii shrubs and this particular one is named Jane Platt Dwarf Fothergilla. It will grow up to three feet in height and offer you blazing fall color. This variety also happens to be insect resistant.

Jane Platt Dwarf Fothergilla
Jane Platt Dwarf Fothergilla

This Sea Spray Fothergilla is an intermediate that can grow to five feet tall. It offers pretty pastel shades of red, pink and orange leaves in autumn.

Sea Spray Fothergilla
Sea Spray Fothergilla

This KLMsixteen variety is called May Bouquet Hybrid. This is a larger shrub that can grow as tall as eight feet. It's known for its huge blossoms and lasting fall color.

May Bouquet Hybrid
May Bouquet Hybrid

And this Fothergilla major, appropriately known as Large Fothergilla can grow to heights of twelve feet and be just as wide. You'll enjoy its cheery colored leaves in the fall.

Large Fothergilla
Large Fothergilla

These shrubs are a hardy sort surviving very cold winters and hot summers. The shrubs shown in this article are all growing in Ohio.They're generally recommended in zones 5-9. Plant them in sun or part shade and provide medium moisture. They can be propagated by taking cuttings or collecting and drying seeds from the seed heads. If your local nursery does not make them available to you they are easily obtained by mail order. I recently obtained a shrub from a large home improvement store.


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    • Sally's Trove profile image


      7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you for this introduction to a beautiful plant I didn't know. I'm looking forward to getting to know it--and your writings--better!

    • RTalloni profile image


      8 years ago from the short journey

      Okay, I'm hooked. Must become your fan.

    • Kay Creates profile imageAUTHOR

      Kay Creates 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you all for the kind comments.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub with full instructions for the brownest of thumbs!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 

      8 years ago

      Great hub, Kay. And fantastic pictures! : ) This looks like a very interesting shrub. I will have to check into it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I learn something new every day!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      These are lovely, Kay! Thanks for a bit of Spring this gloomy California day. Much appreciated and welcome to HubPaages!

    • Patti Ann profile image

      Patti Ann 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Great info - I'll tell my sister in law - the deer eat everything she plants in her yard.

    • valeriebelew profile image


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      gorgeous flowers, and welcome to hubpages. Looking forward to more of your hubs.

    • Kay Creates profile imageAUTHOR

      Kay Creates 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      I can tell you what I think I know but please don't quote me on this :-) I believe when a plant is called insect resistant it means that the plant is less apt to incur damage from insects. Some plants are genetically altered. There is bacteria in the soil, called gt for short, that is not harmful to humans, pets and supposedly beneficial insects. By altering the plants gene to include the gt it supposedly does away with the bad guys. I've notice that butterflies like these shrubs. Hope that helps.

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      The “Jane Platt Dwarf Fothergilla happens to be insect resistant”. Do you have any more information bout this insect resistance please? Fascinating piece, thank you :-)

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      8 years ago

      Great info. I'm always on the hunt for deer resistant plants. They can be so destructive.

    • BJBenson profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I really do like your pics.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thumbs up! Beautiful ornamental!

    • Tashtoo profile image


      8 years ago from Nova Scotia

      Lots of info provided and the pics are fantastic. Makes me resent my black thumb even more :( This, however, might be a plant that even I could not harm! Well written piece that should be very well received!

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 

      8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Beautiful! I love gardening! Thanks for the great hub!

    • elayne001 profile image


      8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Beautiful shrub. Not sure they would grow in Hawaii, but one could only try. Thanks.

    • Kay Creates profile imageAUTHOR

      Kay Creates 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you Mystique. I'm new here. Good to see a familiar name.

    • Mystique1957 profile image


      8 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Oh! A lot of people are gonna love this hub! I tell you, I know a few...

      Thumbs up! It has been Stumbled upon as well!

      Warmest regards and infinite eternal blessings,



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