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Plants We Love: Bottlebrush

Bottlebrush (Fothergilla major) is a shrub with interesting fragrant spring flowers and great fall color.
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Bottlebrush Shrub (Fothergilla major)

Plant name: Bottlebrush, witchalder, mountain witchalder, large fothergilla

Botanical name: Fothergilla major

Virtues: This easy-care shrub provides fragrant flowers in the spring and beautiful color in the fall.

Foliage: Mid-size glossy dark green leaves turn bright red, orange and yellow in the fall.

Flowers: White or occasionally pinkish flowers appear in late spring to early summer. Look very much like a bottlebrush. Have a strong spicy-sweet fragrance. Flowers appear just before or just as the leaves are coming out.

Habit: Upright deciduous shrub to 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

Season: Spring for flowers; fall for foliage color.

Origin: Allegheny Mountains, Virginia to South Carolina.

Cultivation: Moist but well-drained acidic soil. Grows in full sun or part shade, but full sun will create the most flowers and the best fall color. Prune Fothergilla major in late winter or early spring, removing crossing branches and wayward shoots. USDA Zones 5–8.

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Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder