I Love Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’

Oct 29, 2016 | Love This!

Imagine: You’re disappointed to see summer come to an end, and you really hate it when the sun starts setting so much earlier in the fall. Setting sun at 5 o’clock? Sigh. Fortunately there are plants whose brilliant fall colors that are glowing in the morning as you leave the house and lift your spirits every time you pull into the driveway. And even more fortuitous is the fact that one of these thrives in part-shade, doesn’t grow too tall, and has arresting, powder-blue leaves all summer long. Not only does the fall foliage lift your heart, but you’re already looking forward to the honey-scented flowers next spring.

Name: Fothergilla x intermedia ‘Blue Shadow’ aka the blue shadow fothergilla.

Even as we feel sorry that the days grow shorter, Fothergilla Blue Shadow has the ability to cheer us up.

Even as we feel sorry that the days grow shorter, Fothergilla Blue Shadow has the ability to cheer us up.

Type of Plant: A deciduous shrub that thrives in sun or part-shade.

Why I love this: First of all, this shrub is native to the Eastern USA and gives those with part-shade the opportunity to have foliage that contrasts with other greenery. The flowers open in late-April and are showy for several weeks in May. I also love the size of this plant – in my garden over the past eight years it’s only grown to about 4½ feet tall.

So spring flowers, blue foliage and summer, and then a grand finale of reds, yellows, purples and gray leaves in October. This plant works well in a shrub border or as a not-too-tall hedge. It combines well with other shrubs or as a background for the perennial garden.

Although ‘Blue Shadow’ Fothergilla likes medium moisture soils I’ve found that it does quite well with only a periodic deep soaking every two or three weeks.

For several weeks in the early spring Fothergilla flowers are also cheerful.

For several weeks in the early spring Fothergilla flowers are also cheerful.

A Word to the Wise: This Fothergilla does sucker to the side, so if it’s planted in a foundation planting you might have to edit side growth out over time as you would a Hydrangea. But it doesn’t spread quickly, and it’s pest and problem free. Only small, touch-up pruning is required as the shape is pleasing as it naturally grows.

This photo shows the range of colors found in Blue Shadow's leaves. The power-blue is the color of the foliage all summer. In the fall, yellows, reds and purple combine to provide a rich tapestry of colors in your garden.

This photo shows the range of colors found in Blue Shadow’s leaves. The power-blue is the color of the foliage all summer. In the fall, yellows, reds and purple combine to provide a rich tapestry of colors in your garden.

My shrubs are only four and a half feet tall after seven or eight years in the garden.

My shrubs are only four and a half feet tall after seven or eight years in the garden.

2 Comments

  1. Robert S Bobalek

    Where has this cultivar been all my life ?
    (or, where have I been?)
    Am 70 years old and just bought 2 of them to enjoy for the rest of my days.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Robert,
      So glad you’ve planted a couple. This cultivar hasn’t (yet) gotten the attention that it deserves. It’s a classy plant through all seasons.

      Reply

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