Loropetalum Chinense, otherwise known as Chinese fringe flower, is a woody shrub that has been a landscape favorite. The species plant, which has green leaves and white flowers, has been around since 1880.
However, it was not popularized until the introduction of purple-leafed, pink-flowered varieties in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Loropetalum, a Greek translation of the word strap and petal, refers to the fringe-like flowers. Loropetalum, a member of the witch hazel family, is native to China and Japan.
They are spring bloomers and evergreen plants, which flower just like azaleas. They can be used to hedge, plant foundation, plant mixed planting, specimen plant, and plant for the patio.
TIPS FOR PLANTING
They are quick growers and will quickly outgrow the space they were intended for. This means that most varieties need to be pruned regularly. They are best positioned in areas that have sufficient space.
Loropetalums can withstand cold temperatures and will grow in full sun or with some shade from the afternoon sun. When in bloom, plants under the shifting shade provided by pine trees look a lot like large Formosa Azaleas.
They favor acid soil with good drainage and some organic matter, just like azaleas. They are extremely drought-tolerant.
There are many options. Although Ruby is the most popular variety in our region, it is not recommended due to dieback problems. It matures at about 3 to 5 feet, although I have seen it grow much taller.
The plant has a round shape and pink flowers that occasionally bloom throughout the year. The leaves are rounder and smaller than the Plum and Burgundy varieties.
Plum, also known as Plum Delight, and Pizzazz, can grow up to 6-8 feet tall and has darker leaves and more flowers than other plants. Burgundy (Sizzling Pink) is taller than Ruby and matures at 6-10 feet tall. It has long pointed leaves that turn to red in the fall.
It blooms all year, just like Ruby. According to landscape observations, Plum and Burgundy have not shown any signs of dieback, so they are good choices for this area.
University of Florida research first showed that dieback could be caused by either micronutrient deficiencies or eriophyid mites. According to the results of the study, copper sprays were effective in preventing the problem.
After 12 weeks, however, symptoms returned and required additional treatment. Ruby, once a low-maintenance, now requires copper sprays four times per year to prevent the plant from dying.
Spray individual plants with Kocide copper spray if you have existing loropetalum Ruby plants and have dieback problems. Spray as soon as you notice new growth.
Avoid spraying copper on other plants, as it can cause toxicity problems. Also, do not spray metal, concrete, or light-colored homes to prevent blue staining and corrosion.
Pseudocercospora can also cause leaf spot diseases, which can lead to defoliation. The fungus can cause leaves to develop brown or yellow spots, and it can also persist in the moistened air at night. The disease can be controlled with fungicide sprays.
There are new varieties, which is a plus. Purple Pixie is a dwarf shrub that spreads to 2 feet and can reach 4 to 5 feet in height. It is characterized by deep purple leaves and bright, fuchsia-pink blooms. It can be used as a foundation, groundcover, or container plant.
Snowmound (Snow Muffin), another low-growing plant, stands at between 1 and 3 feet tall and has a width of 2 to 3 feet. The leaves are dark green with white flowers.
They seem to perform best in the Middle to Lower and Coastal South. Subzero temperatures can kill or knock plants back to the ground. In cooler climates, apply a thick mulch to protect roots and plant in a protected area.
Loropetalum makes a nice accent plant in a large container or planted in a shrub or flower border. Be careful using them in foundation plantings-many of the pink selections are so new that their mature sizes are unknown.
Their name may be hard to say, but these plants are easy to grow, and they’re a great addition to any landscape.
At a Glance
Flowers: stringy pink or white blooms in spring
Culture: full sun to partial shade, needs well-drained non alkaline soil; no major insect or disease problems
Size: 12 feet or taller, 6 to 8 feet wide (Mature sizes of some new selections are unknown.)
Uses: borders, containers, hedges, specimens