Fothergilla Major Mountain Witch Alder
Fothergilla Major Mountain Witch Alder flowering
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The attractive Fothergilla Major Mountain Witch Alder shrub provides garden interest from spring to late autumn, and for these qualities has received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Native to the Appalachian mountains of the south east United States, Fothergilla Major has been grown by UK gardeners for 200 years. The large, broad leaves emerge in early spring, maturing to a glossy dark green with a silvery green underside. They may be as large as 13 cm long and 11 cm wide. The fragrant flowers may appear before or along with the leaves in late April, forming white spikes up to 5 cm tall, and covering the plants throughout May. In the autumn the leaves turn an attractive shade of burgundy, and then orange, finally turning yellow before they drop.
Hardy in most parts of the UK, Mountain Witch Alder grows to its full height of 1.5-2.5 meters and spread of 1-1.5 metres in 10 to 20 years. If planting as a hedge or in a clump, space plants 1-2 metres apart. Fothergilla Major will require little pruning, but if necessary, it is best to prune immediately following flowering in early summer.
Fothergilla Major needs well-drained, moist, acid soil to thrive, whether it is clay, loam, or sand. It will do best in full sun or partial shade, in a sheltered or exposed position. It is not susceptible to insects or disease. Since Mountain Witch Alder spreads by root suckers, either choose a location where that will not be a problem, or remove suckers as they develop.
Mountain Witch Alder will be equally at home in a small city garden or a country location. It makes a good foundation planting, as well as a part of a mixed shrubbery border. Tucked into a shady corner of a garden, it will fill in what could otherwise be a difficult gap. In a country setting, a hedge of Fothergilla Major would provide an effective screen as well as the beauty of its flowers and foliage. They will also grow happily under pine trees in a woodland garden, and cohabit well with rhododendrons.
From its spring flowers, to its attractive green summer foliage, and then finishing with its colourful autumn show, Fothergilla Major will make a beautiful, fragrant addition to your garden!
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