Fothergilla gardenii, commonly known as Dwarf Fothergilla, is a slow-growing, deciduous, dwarf ornamental shrub that is native to moist lowland coastal plain bogs and savannahs in the southeastern U.S. from North Carolina to the Florida panhandle and Alabama. It typically grows 2-3’ tall with an equal spread and takes on a compact, mounded habit. Apetalous flowers in dense terminal bottlebrush-like spikes (to 1-2" long) bloom in spring (April-early May) before the leaves appear. Only the male flowers have color (showy white filaments and yellow anthers). Flowers are aromatic. Thick, pubescent, oblong to obovate, blue-green to green leaves (to 2 1/2" long) have marginal teeth from mid point to leaf apex and are rounded at the base. Leaves turn often brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red in fall. Fruit is an ornamentally insignificant, two-seeded, beaked capsule that matures in fall.
It is best grown in moist, acidic, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best flowers occur in full sun, but plants appreciate some afternoon shade in hot and dry summer climates. Performs well in sandy loams. Avoid heavy soils. Plants may spread by root suckers to form colonies if suckers are not promptly removed.
Compact specimens provide accents that may also be grown in groups or massed. Uses include shrub borders, small hedges, foundations, cottage gardens, open woodland areas or native plant areas.
Information adapted from: Missouri Botanical Garden