Fothergilla gardenii 'Blue Mist'
Common Name: dwarf fothergilla 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall


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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fothergilla gardenii, 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 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.

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

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.

'Blue Mist' is a compact, slow-growing cultivar with a mounded habit typically growing to 2-3' (less frequently to 4') tall. Leaves are an attractive frosty blue-green in summer, changing to yellow, orange and red (but sometimes only a bronzish yellow) in fall. This cultivar does not consistently produce the spectacular fall color associated with many fothergillas, however. May spread by root suckers to form colonies.


No serious insect or disease problems.

Low vigor and dieback can be a problem in the St. Louis area.


Compact specimen or accent that may also be grown in groups or massed. Shrub borders, foundations, cottage gardens, open woodland areas or native plant areas. Small hedge.