Witch Alder, Large Fothergilla, Mount Airy Bottlebrush 'Mt. Airy'


Family: Hamamelidaceae
Genus: Fothergilla (foth-er-GIL-la) (Info)
Cultivar: Mt. Airy
Additional cultivar information:(aka Mount Airy)
Synonym:Fothergilla gardenii x major
Synonym:Fothergilla major



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:



4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bessemer, Alabama

Calera, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Austell, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Burlington, Kentucky

Richmond, Kentucky

Buckfield, Maine

Crofton, Maryland

Wayland, Massachusetts

Sterling Heights, Michigan

Maryville, Missouri

Mount Vernon, Missouri

Sparks, Nevada

Collingswood, New Jersey

Buffalo, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Sylva, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Medford, Oregon

Levittown, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina

Okatie, South Carolina

Arlington, Virginia

Hot Springs, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Orlean, Virginia

Federal Way, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Morgantown, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 21, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is the cultivar that put Fothergilla on our radar. It's a hybrid (F. x intermedia) that's more adaptable than F. gardenii and a more manageable size than F. major, and it's much more easily propagated by cuttings than either.


For a great article about Fothergilla: http://www.rickdarke.com/Fothergilla.pdf


On Jan 8, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This is the most common cultivar grown and sold in southeast Pennsylvania, originally discovered in Mount Airy, Ohio. The straight species usually is smaller of being about 3 to 4 ft high, but not always, while this cultivar is about 5 to 6 ft high. It is somewhat common in landscapes where people spend more money and is loved by landscape architects. It is a high quality neat, clean plant with handsome foliage that develops a good yellow to orange to red fall color. It bears fragrant, fuzzy, bottlebrush erect flower clusters in late April and early May in se PA.


On May 1, 2013, RHaeckler from Richmond, KY wrote:

We had a drought last year and my fothergilla survived just fine without additional watering, even tho some of the other shrubs died back and it was planted in full sun. Nice spring flowers but not much scent. The plant is still young, tho.


On Apr 24, 2010, Erekle from Austell (W of Atlanta), GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bought one at a high-end nursery last year. It was extremely fragrant last year (anise/honey). Bloomed nicely this Spring, but hardly noticed any fragrance at all. It's planted in front of my place, next to the house in full sun...hot afternoon sun in the summer. Very good, well-prepared soil. I don't keep it especially moist, but it seems quite healthy otherwise. Any clues about frangance in this plant?


On Jun 10, 2008, ekeniston from Huntsville, AL wrote:

I have three of these beautiful little bushes, all in my front yard, which is a west-facing hillside, about half-shaded, half-sunny. Here in the foothills of the Appalachians (Huntsville, Ala.) the witch alders seem to thrive. The color could be better some autumns, but my plants are still lovely all year round. The one that's doing the best (growing the most, most vivid fall color) is the one that gets about two hours more sun than the others. I learned about this plant from Darke's American Woodlands Garden. I mulch with pinestraw.


On Nov 21, 2007, jt0791 from Pembroke, MA wrote:

planted 3 of these in my border that receives part sun and the fall foliage is outsanding, gold yellow orange red all present on plant cant wait to see spring flowers


On Mar 28, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

The first fall this shrub failed to provide good fall color, but some plants really don't come into their own for a couple years, so I'm not surprised. It survived the winter and is budding up nicely. The buds are interesting-looking, if you bother to stop and examine them.


On Jul 8, 2004, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Selected by Dr. Michael Dirr from the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, OH. My plant tag it is considered superior for its size (intermediate), flower (both size and quantity), good fall color, and general hardiness.

I purchased a 3-gallon container and will soon plant it in a new, large bed of evergreens and spring-flowering shrubs; I'm hoping the mixture will provide fall color, winter interest and a habitat for the wildlife in our backyard in addition to spring blooms.