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Sunday
Mar202016

Growing Loropetalums 

This has been a marvelous year for loropetalums. Loropetalum chinense, or Chinese fringe flower, is in full bloom, and every neighborhood in my area seems to have at least a few lovely specimens. The pink flowered varieties with purple leaves, Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum, are especially eye catching.A member of the Witch Hazel family, Hamanelidaceae, all of these shrubs have clusters of delicately scented, fringe shaped flowers. The green leafed cultivars have white to ivory flowers, while the purple-leafed ones have showy pink blooms.

Lorapetalum 'Carolina Moonlight' is a white flowering cultivar that grows to about 6 feet tall and wide.

Loropetalum 'Purple Diamond' grows in my own garden. It will reach 2-5 feet tall with a spread of 3-5 feet.Loropetalums will bloom heavily in spring, then again sporadically from summer into fall. All are evergreen, keeping their leaves through the winter, though some purple leafed ones may become greener during the summer.

Loropetalums come in various sizes to fit your needs. Selections vary from dwarf and low, spreading cultivars suitable for groundcover to selections that will grow up to 15 feet tall and wide. Loropetalums in Atlanta Botanical Gardens.In fact, there are some century old plants reported to have reached to 35 feet tall. The larger varieties may have their lower limbs removed to create lovely tree form specimens. Select larger shrubs for a tall hedge or as a backdrop for smaller plants. 

These are easy care shrubs that generally require little maintenance. They grow well in USDA hardiness zones 7- 9. They flourish in full sun and rich organic acid soil that is moist but well drained. Most are fast growing. Fertilize in early spring with fertilizer designed for acid loving plants or for evergreens. Choose appropriately sized cultivars for the location to minimize the need for pruning. If pruning is desired for shaping or to control size, prune after spring flowering has ended. 

 

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Reader Comments (15)

They're lovely plants, although ones I've been unsuccessful in growing in my own garden. I suspect their thirst wasn't sufficiently sated here but perhaps our soil is also just a little too alkaline as well.

March 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Have you seen any bees or other pollinators foraging on your Loropetalum, Deb?

I've read conflicting reports about whether bees can feed on these shrubs...

Your photos look very pretty, btw -- especially that first shrub. Wow!

(PS - Loropetalums have never been my favorites for some reason. Maybe because homeowners / landscapers tend to prune them so drastically in foundation plantings? They look quite...elegant in that final photo from Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Color me surprised!

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

They look beautiful, and I was getting really excited - until I got to the part about acid soil. Mine is neutral to alkaline. Ah well!

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

Oh, that’s one of my absolute favourite plants – and I managed to kill mine! I had one in a container for at least 5 years, and I do wonder in hindsight if it got eaten by vine weevil, because it just wilted away after having grown so successfully. It was not pot bound, I used to check it every early spring to see if it needed repotting but it was OK. I think I am going to have another go here in my new garden, thanks for reminding me, I used to love taking photos of it and it used to flower almost 12 months a year on and off!

Thanks for all the info, great to know, and if I get a new one I am NOT getting one that will reach to 15 ft tall and wide :-)

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

I've always admired these but I've never seen one with flowers the size of those in your first photograph.

March 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Hi everyone! Thank you for your comments! Aaron, you asked if Loropetalum attracts bees. The answer is yes, and they also attract butterflies. They are reported to attract hummingbirds, too.
Deb

March 21, 2016 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

What a beautiful shrub, I haven't heard of them over in the UK. Must do some research!

March 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

How I wish Loropetalums were hardy here. The first magenta colored one is especially gorgeous!

March 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I planted one of these last year; but I think it died in the intense heat of last summer. I wasn't told it needed acid soil or I wouldn't have even tried it. Yours and the one from the Botanic Garden are gorgeous.

March 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Wow, they look like show stoppers! I have so little experience with them. My mother has some in Florida, and to me, they are simply shrubs. Obviously I've never seen them at the right time!

March 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

A beautiful shrub to be sure. We don't see it here in zone 5, though.

March 23, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjason

I have seen these around, but didn't know the name of them. I would like to have some on the side of my garden shed where there is a large gap to cover between the shed and the ground.

March 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRoo

It's been a good year for lor loropetalums here too! I don't have any but a neighbor does and I've seen some beautiful specimens in my drives around the area. The pink ones remind me a lot of azaleas this year even though the flower form is so different.

March 25, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

I grew these when I lived in SC but they aren't reliably winter hardy here and I've killed two. But I do love their purple foliage and little shredded flowers.

March 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Lovely photos Deb of a beautiful shrub. I never realized that there was a white variety and I think I like that one best of all. They do quite well here although I think we are at the southern end of their range. Sadly the deer seem to nibble at them constantly so I have to grow them in the back which is fenced. I'm going to look out for the white one. Thanks for the great info!

April 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

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