Fothergilla 'Mount Airy'
Common Name: dwarf fothergilla 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic, organically rich soils which have good drainage. Good shade tolerance. May spread by root suckers if suckers are not promptly removed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fothergilla is a genus of two species of deciduous shrubs native to Southeastern U.S. Their attractive bottlebrush-like flowers (usually white) produced in early spring, small size and bright fall colors make them very desirable as choice garden plants.

Genus name honors Dr. John Fothergill (1712-1780), English physician and botanist who grew plants from around the world in his London garden.

‘Mount Airy’ is a hybrid fothergilla cultivar that was discovered by plantsman Michael A. Dirr at the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a vigorous deciduous shrub that grows 4-5’ tall and is noted for its profuse spring flowering, excellent summer foliage, excellent fall color and consistently upright habit. Terminal, bottlebrush-like spikes (1-3” long) of tiny, fragrant, apetalous, white flowers bloom in spring (April-May) after the foliage emerges. Flower color comes from the dense clusters of showy stamens (white filaments and yellowish anthers). Flowers have a honey-scented frangrance. Leathery, ovate to obovate leaves (2-4” long) are dark green above and bluish gray beneath. Foliage turns excellent shades of yellow, orange and red-purple in fall. ‘Mount Airy’ may be a cross between two southeastern U.S. natives, F. gardenii and F. major. It is taller than the former but shorter than the latter.


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.