How to Grow and Care for Loropetalum
Loropetalum are so easy to grow, you can practically plant them and forget them. But you won't, because these shrubs with white, pink, creamy white, or reddish-purple blooms, also called Chinese fringe-flowers, are attractive and versatile. These natives of woodlands in Southeast Asia, China, and Japan, have rich green or purplish foliage plays beautifully against green, gold, or blue tones. Think golden Ligustrum, chocolate colored Colocasias, nandinas in shades of lemon and lime, hibiscus with maroon flowers, banana plants with dark red splashes on their green leaves, and more.
Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense) are related to witch hazels. Their clusters of fringe-like, strappy flowers appear from late winter into spring and early summer. The plants have a natural, graceful shape and arching stems and attract bees and butterflies, although deer tend to avoid them.
Where to Plant Loropetalum
Loropetalum are great to grow in small groups or as specimen plants, hedges, borders, or screens. They range from 6 to 15 feet tall and wide and come in dwarf, medium-sized, and tall types that weep or grow upright. Taller ones grow faster than smaller ones. Most are hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 9 or 10.
How to Care for Loropetalum
Give Loropetalum rich, loamy, loose, slightly acidic soil (4.0 to 6.5 pH) that drains easily. Work bagged topsoil or planting soil into clay or dense soils, aiming for a 50/50 ratio of native soil to amendments. Improve sandy soil by mixing in topsoil, compost or peat moss.
Loropetalum thrive in filtered full sun, all-day sun, or cool morning sun with afternoon shade. They need at least four hours of direct sun each day.
Mulch them with2 to 4 inches of pine straw, shredded bark or aged wood chips. Don't let the mulch touch the plants and replenish it as needed.
Water newly planted Loropetalum thoroughly and deeply. Then water regularly, if there's not sufficient rainfall, to keep the soil slightly moist. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Avoid overwatering, as they can't take soggy soil or constantly wet roots.
Feed Loropetalum in late spring and mid-summer with an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer or shrub fertilizer. Follow the label instructions and water thoroughly.
Loropetalum Care During Winter
Loropetalum are evergreens but leaves may drop in colder climates. Protect their roots with mulch and cover them with burlap or shrub wraps if temperatures fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Prune Loropetalum
Prune Loropetalum to control their size or shape after the flowers fade in spring. Remove broken, dead, or diseased branches. The plants tolerate heavy pruning if used as topiaries or Bonsai or around foundations.
How to Propagate Loropetalum
In spring or summer, take 6-inch cuttings of soft, woody growth. Leave at least two sets of top leaves and remove the rest. Dip the ends in rooting hormone and stick them in a 50/50 mix of perlite and peat. Create a greenhouse effect by covering them with clear plastic bags but don't let the plastic touch them. Keep the soil moist. Roots should develop in four to six weeks. Transplant in the following growing season.
Before propagating, be sure that your plant is not patented. Patented plants are illegal to propagate. You can check to see if your plant is patent-protected by checking the tag, label, or container. Patented plants will bear a trademark, registered trademark, or patent number by their name.
Loropetalum in Containers
Choose dwarf or slow-growing Loropetalum for pots. Use containers with drainage holes and a quality potting mix.
Few pests or diseases bother Loropetalum. Knock off spider mites with water from the hose or spray persistent infestations with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.
Yellow leaves may mean your soil is too alkaline. Fix this problem, chlorosis, by adding elemental sulfur or another material. Your local extension service agent can tell you what to use and how to apply it.
Knock off aphids with a blast of water or spray with insecticidal soap. Avoid chemical pesticides, which kill beneficial insects that help control aphids.
Deter scale by keeping plants healthy through proper fertilizing and watering. Prune away branches with heavy scale infestations, use double-sided, sticky tapes traps, or spray with horticultural oil.
Anthracnose, a fungal blight, is seldom fatal. Control it by improving the drainage around your plants or using a fungicide.
Powdery mildew is rarely fatal, but makes leaves turn yellow, wither, and drop prematurely. Cut off badly diseased stems and branches or spray with fungicide. Fungicides won't cure this disease but can help prevent its spread.
Bacterial galls can't be cured, but fungicides may prevent them or discourage them from spreading. Don't overcrowd Loropetalum when planting or water from overhead, Use clean pruning tools and shears.
Loropetalum to Grow
'Burgundy' – reddish-purple leaves that age to purple-green or dark olive. In fall, older leaves are orange-red, or red. Flowers are hot pink. Grows 6-10 feet tall and wide in Zones 7 to 9.
'Daruma' – a dwarf at 2 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. Plum-colored leaves contrast with bright pink blooms. Zones 7 to 10.
Jazz Hands® White – a dwarf with dark green leaves and snowy-white flowers. Reaches 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 7 to 9.
'Emerald Snow' – a semi-dwarf. New lime-green leaves turn rich green. Flowers are creamy white. Grows 4 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Zones 7 to 10.
'Zhuzhou Fuchsia' – Deep pink flowers held against blackish-maroon leaves. Grows 6 to 8 feet tall. Zones 7 to 9.
'Jazz Hands Mini' – deep purple leaves and magenta flowers. At 10 to 12-inches tall, it spreads to make a good groundcover, container plant, or front of the border plant. Zones 7 to 9.