Native to southeastern U.S. Grown mainly for fall foliage color, but spring bloom is pretty: Small, honey-scented white flowers in 1- to 2-in., brushlike clusters on zigzag- ging stems. Blossoms may appear before or with leaves. Perform best in moist, well-drained, acid soil.
F. gardenii. DWARF FOTHERGILLA. Typically 23 ft. high (though it can grow considerably taller) and as wide or wider, with 1- to 212-in.-long, dark green leaves. Foliage turns intense yellow to orange to scarlet in autumn, often with all three colors in the same leaf. 'Blue Mist' has blue-green foliage that turns yellow in fall. 'Suzanne' is choice, with reliably compact growth and showy orange-red fall color.
F. major. LARGE FOTHERGILLA. Erect shrub to 9 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide, with roundish, 2- to 4-in.-long leaves turning yellow to orange to purplish red in autumn. 'Mount Airy' (F. x intermedia) is smaller (35 ft. high and wide), with abundant bloom, good dark green leaf color, and consistently superb fall color in yellow, orange, and scarlet. 'Blue Shadow' (F. x intermedia) grows 3-4 ft. tall and wide with powder-blue foliage.