Sunday, January 15, 2012

Planting and Growing the Mountain Witchalder

(Image: Michael Maggs, from Wikipedia)

Also known as large fothergilla and Fothergilla major, the Mountain witchalder is native to the United States. It is a member of the witch-hazel family, or Hamamelidaceae, family of plants.

Mountain Witchalder Description

Growing 6 to 12 feet high, this perennial is a deciduous shrub. There are multiple crooked stems on the plant, with dark blue-green leaves. Foliage is leathery and dense, turning nice colors come fall. Flowers are a mass of stamens, white, and fragrant. They are in terminal spikes that are thimble-like. Blooms will happen after the leaves make an appearance. Bloom season is between April and May.

Growing Guide

Grow the Mountain witchalder in partial shade with an acidic soil. Propagate by seed, suckers, or by semi-hardwood cuttings. Cuttings take with or without rooting hormone. Seed planting requires six months of warm moist stratification and then three months of cold moist stratification.


This native is found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is seen in stream banks, ravines, and rich mountain wood areas.


This perennial is disease and insect resistant.


This native has a good look in shrub borders, naturalistic areas, and in groupings. It has nice blooms, good summer and fall foliage, and looks its best when there is an evergreen dark background.


One of the best known Mountain witchalder cultivars is the 'Mt Airy' cultivar. There are bigger blooms and a yellow to red strong fall color palette. It is widely available at nurseries, and it has superior attributes. If going for a Mountain witchalder in your landscape, it is definitely the cultivar to select.

Source: NPIN, UCONN Plant Database


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