November Plant of the Month

by | Nov 1, 2014 | Market News

‘Blue Shadow’ Fothergilla

Fothergilla are deciduous shrubs of North America, belonging to the Witch-hazel family.  Native to the southeastern United States, Fothergilla are seldom seen in our northern landscapes, although they are frost-hardy and well-suited to the shrub border.

Four years ago, we planted a ‘Blue Shadow’ Fothergilla in a display garden near the south side of our production greenhouse.  ‘Blue Shadow’ is a compact, slow growing, upright, deciduous shrub that features striking powder-blue leaves.  True to its nature, it was slow to start, and was unfortunately fed on by rabbits this past winter.  Despite the setback, this easygoing plant was carefully pruned in late spring and grew quickly.

Fothergilla Blue ShadowThis autumn our ‘Blue Shadow’ provided us with an arresting display of yellow, orange, and red shades of color.  It was perhaps the most handsome plant in our several display gardens.  As we prepare for winter, we will be sure to protect this attractive shrub.

Fothergilla Blue-ShadowOne of the most notable characteristics of Fothergilla is its spring flowers; a display we missed this year thanks to the rabbits.  The flowers, though without petals, present conspicuous clusters of long white stamens, tipped with yellow anthers.  The honey-scented flowers appear before the foliage, much like the magnolia, and bloom for several weeks.


‘Blue Shadow’ Fothergilla thrives best in moist sandy loam acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 or lower.  Although our soil here in southeast Minnesota is alkaline, it can be made more acidic, more woodsier, by incorporating plenty of peat or composted leaves (leafmold) into the soil.  Fothergilla prefers full sun to part shade and can be trimmed to shape after flowering if necessary.


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  1. Gay Woodgate

    Do you know if the plant of the month “Blue Shadow” Fothgerilla has the same herbal and medicinal benefits of regular Witch- hazel plants ?

    • Jason Himmelwright

      Yes Fothergilla is in the same family of plants and has some of the same astringent values as Witch Hazels.


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