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Found typically in dry, rocky woods, Tall or Mountain fothergilla is a somewhat uncommon shrub from the Southern Appalachian region, growing in scattered populations from North Carolina and Tennessee, south to Georgia and Alabama, with a disjunct population in Arkansas. Tall fothergilla is somewhat less used than common fothergilla (F. gardenii) due to its much larger size - Tall fothergilla can grow to become a 10-15 foot tall shrub.
Tall fothergilla has larger leaves and flowers than F. gardenii, lending it a stronger presence in the garden or landscape. Tall fothergilla also tends to be clonal, spreading out by suckers to form thickets. The bottle-brush like blooms emerge in mid-Spring, just as the trees are beginning to leaf out. The blooms are formed on the previous year's growth, and open before the leaves bud out to very ornamental effect. The flowers have a light honey scent, attracting early pollinators.
Tall fothergilla leaves are shaped similarly to witch hazel, and maintain a pleasant green hue during the summer. Come fall, the shrubs really come into their most decorative season - The leaves turn sugar-maple hues of red, orange and yellow, and last for weeks.
Tall fothergilla is a large shrub perfectly suited for use in the wooded landscape - It offers cover for songbirds to nest in, and will spread by suckers to form colonies. Tall fothergilla does well in sun or shade, though a brighter spot will bring out the fall color better.
Use Tall Fothergilla for the back of the border, or in a hedge - Suckers can easily be removed to keep the shrub contained. The shrubs grow densely, offering excellent screening in the summer for shaded patios and backyard spots.
Tall fothergilla does best in rocky or sandy, acidic soil. It will grow well in clay loams, but avoid heavy clay and high PH soils. In moist soils, tall fothergilla will grow and spread more exuberantly, necessitating removal of suckers to keep it intact.
Rabbits will chew on fothergilla twigs, so make sure to protect the shrubs for a few years after planting until they're large enough to withstand browse.
We grow Tall Fothergilla in our Quart SuperPlug fabric containers, and the plants are pruned to 12 inches tall to encourage branching. To plant, simply cut a slit down the side and peel back the fabric.
|Common Name:||Mountain Fothergilla|
|Botanical Name:||Fothergilla major|
|USDA Hardiness Zones:||4-8|
|Bloom Time:||Mid April - Early May|
|Habit:||Spreading Round Shrub|
|Light Exposure:||Shade to Full Sun|
|Soil Moisture:||Moist to Average|
|Soil Texture:||Clay Loam to Sandy Loam; Rocky|
|Landscape Uses:||Hedge, Specimen Shrub, Shrub Layer in Woodlands|
|Benefits:||Tolerates Acidic Soil, Provides Screening, Attracts Songbirds|
|Ecological Function:||Larval Food Source, Pollen & Nectar, Shelter|