Plant of the Week: Dwarf fothergilla

As the season comes to a close, the High Line becomes awash with fall color. One of my favorite plants during this time of year is Fothergilla gardenii. The combination of reds, yellows, oranges, and purples in one small shrub is a sensational sight every fall.

Fothergilla gardenii is a native south eastern shrub, known for its multicolored fall foliage and beautiful spring blooms. This plant is commonly referred to just by its genus name, fothergilla, but may also be called dwarf fothergilla or witch-alder.

Fothergilla gardenii is a low growing (approximately 5 feet), colonizing species. Its tendency to sucker makes it an ideal candidate for an informal hedge or wild native planting. In spring, it blooms in clusters of yellow and white bottlebrush-like flowers.


Fothergilla gardenii is rarely bothered by insects or disease, making it a worry-free native shrub for your garden. It will easily grow in full sun and part shade, however fall color will be better when planted in full sun. Depending on site conditions, it may require supplemental watering to help become established.


You can find Fothergilla gardenii growing in the Thicket between West 20th Street and West 22nd Street.

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 500 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today. Every week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects.

TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

Recent Posts
Plant of the Week: Sea Lavender
view post
Open Encounter: A Conversation with Brendan Fernandes
view post