Plant a fothergilla, and you'll be rewarded with a spectacular show in spring, and another in fall. In spring, the shrub will be covered with masses of fragrant bottle-brush shaped blossoms that will make an appearance even before the bluish-green leaves. In autumn, the leathery leaves turn shades of orange, scarlet and yellow in bright shades that will knock your socks off. Plant fothergilla in well drained soil, in partial shade or full sun.
Dig a hole equal to the height of the fothergilla's root system, and at least twice as wide. Putting the reserved soil on a tarp or a large piece of cardboard will save clean-up time later.
Remove the fothergilla carefully from its container. If it appears to be stuck, thump the side of the container with the palm of your hand to loosen the roots.
Trim the roots of container-grown shrubs with scissors if they are long, or if they appear soft or weak. Plant the tree in the hole, spreading the roots out evenly. If the roots are wrapped in burlap, remove all strings and wires, and fold the top third of the burlap down so it won't extend above the soil when the shrub is planted. If the burlap is synthetic, it must be completely removed.
Mix the reserved soil with one-third peat moss, and fill the hole about half full. Let a garden hose run slowly into the hole until it's filled with water. Once the water settles, finish filling the hold with soil and peat moss. Tamp the soil down as you go to remove air bubbles.
Dig a 2 to 3-inch deep trench around the base of the fothergilla, about 6 inches from the trunk, which will act as a basin to hold water. Fill the basin with water mixed with a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs. To determine the correct amount of fertilizer, follow the directions on the package.
Spread a 2 to 3-inch layer of organic mulch around and on top of the watering basin, but keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk. Water the fothergilla regularly during its first year. The soil should be damp, but don't flood it.