Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils which have good drainage. Best flowers in full sun. May spread by root suckers to form colonies if suckers are not promptly removed.
Fothergilla gardenia, commonly known as dwarf fothergilla or coastal 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 is a compact, slow-growing, mounded, deciduous shrub that typically grows 2-3’ tall and as wide. 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.
Genus name honors John Fothergill (1712-1780), a Quaker physician from Essex, United Kingdom, who introduced and promoted in England a number of plants native to the U. S.
Specific epithet honors Alexander Garden (1730-1791), Scottish physician and plant enthusiast, who took up residence in Charleston, South Carolina in 1752 and first discovered, described and introduced Fothergilla gardenii to England.
No serious insect or disease problems.
Group or mass in shrub borders, foundation plantings or native plantings. Hedges. Mixes easily with rhododendrons which generally share the same soil requirements.