About Loropetalum

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This article provides information about Loropetalums and growing tips
by Brent Wilson · All Zones · Shrubs · 11 Comments · November 08, 2011 · 82,091 views

If you live and garden in a region where the average low temperature doesn't go below 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit during winter, and you're looking for low-maintenance, super-hardy, pest and disease resistant flowering shrubs to color up your landscape, it does't get much better than the Loropetalums. Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense), also known as Chinese fringe-flower or Chinese witch hazel, is a member of the Witchhazel family (Hamamelidaceae). The genus name, Loropetalum, is derived from the Greek words for strap and petal, and refers to the long, thin petals of its fringe-like flowers. While native to China, Japan and the Himalayas, loropetalum is well-adapted to areas of the United States in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7 through 9.

The first loropetalum, which had green leaves and white flowers, was introduced in the U.S. in the 1880's. But it wasn't until a century later, in the late 1980's, when the first burgundy-leafed pink-flowered species was introduced, that Loropetalums started to become more well-known and sought after by gardeners.

The first time I saw a burgundy-leafed loropetalum was about 20 years or so ago when my brother and I were on one of our plant explorations visiting a small ornamental plant grower in southern Alabama. Until then, I was only aware of the green-leafed variety, but then the grower took us back to this small plot where he was growing Loropetalum 'Burgundy,' a cultivar that grew to over 10 feet in height. I'll never forget the excitement I felt when first laying eyes on this plant. I kind of pride myself in picking winners and knew for sure that this burgundy-leafed loropetalum was going to be a huge hit with gardeners.

Well, that was then and this is now. It's been over 20 years since laying eyes on that first burgundy-leafed loropetalum and, now that we're in the 21st century, and I never would have thought there would be so many cultivars/ varieties on the market today. Plant breeders and developers have come a long way since the late 80's, introducing new and improved varieties almost every year. We've gone from having only the taller growing burgundy-leafed varieties to now having both taller varieties and more compact shrubs, such as 'Purple Diamond' and 'Purple Pixie' (a groundcover) that sport and hold much more intense foliage color in shades of burgundy, deep purple, red and green. Flower colors are still pink or white with the exception of Loropetalum 'Ever Red Sunset,' the first cultivar to sport true red flowers!

I list my favorite varieties of Loropetalum on the next page


John Heider

John Heider · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Great article at a perfect time. I have been interested in this plant for a few weeks. Your list of varieties and pictures helped me to decide as to the perfect one for a spot in my garden.

5 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks for the compliment John! As you can probably tell, I really like loropetalums:-)

5 years ago ·
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Hedy Beil

Hedy Beil · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Is Loropetalum hardy in Zone 5? When should it be planted?

1 year ago ·
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Gardenality.com

Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Hi Hedy - Unfortunately, the Loropetalums are not cold hardy in Zone 5. They are hardy only as far north as Zone 7a. Purple Pixie Loropetalum is a true dwarf that's great for use in containers so could be overwintered indoors.

1 year ago ·
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Kristal Walsh

Kristal Walsh · Gardenality Seedling · Zone 8B · 15° to 20° F
I pruned my loropetalums into trees which had a willow look. They were absolutely gorgeous during the spring bloom but in the last few years I just cannot reach the top any longer and the pruning maintenance is just too hard. So I am going to cut them way back this year to about 4 feet. I hope they recover. The trunks are probable 2-3" caliper..still undecided on my approach. Chainsaw maybe? ??

1 year ago ·
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John Heider

John Heider · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Hi Kristal-Cutting back your loropetalums should be fine. These shrubs normally recover well from hard or rejuvenation pruning. A similar question was asked awhile back. You can copy and paste these links in your browser to go to the question and answer regarding sever pruning of the loropetalums.
http://www.gardenality.com/Questions/1474/Plants/Trees/Will-Loropetalum-Tolerate-And-Survive-Heavy-Hard-Pruning.html
http://www.gardenality.com/Articles/826/Plants/Shrubs/About-Loropetalum/Loropetalum-Planting-Care-and-Maintenance-Tips.html

1 year ago ·
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M Duffy

M Duffy · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
I have transplanted one to Lancaster, PA (Millersville more specifically) ... Zone 6A-6B and positioning it against a house wall and close to a heat pump compressor unit. Fingers crossed it will survive. Will report back next Spring.

8 months, 5 days ago ·
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D Kellner

D Kellner · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
I was hoping you could share some info regarding placement of these shrubs. I had 6 placed in a ring below a pine tree and they dont seem to be doing very well. I live in South Carolina. It seems no plants, or grass for that matter, seem to do well under or near these trees. I have watered, feed, applied acid fertilizer but still no good. Oh...one other thing....the deer here don't seem to mind the taste of the Loropetalum, so spraying with deer repellant also.

2 weeks, 3 days ago ·
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Kristal Walsh

Kristal Walsh · Gardenality Seedling · Zone 8B · 15° to 20° F
I am sure John will chime in shortly but just saw this message and wanted to say that I am in 8b but have acid soils. I have loropetalums in many areas of my yard which has conifers and hardwoods. But I am fairly certain that these shrubs will do better in full sun, at least mine do. They are fairly disease resistant but do require some annual pruning. I am not sure about using repellant for vegetation but you might try other forms of deterrents like motion-activated sprinklers or lights that come on when the deer are in the yard if you do not want them there. I would think that your acidity would be on target with the pines so additional acid applications would not be necessary. Older pines will have surface roots which does make it difficult to grow shrubs directly around the base. Have you tried native azaleas/rhododendrons? Curious about John's response!

2 weeks, 3 days ago ·
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John Heider

John Heider · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Kristal is right on. The loropetalum should do well around the conifers. They actually will do well in most soils as long as the soil is well draining. Like Kristal said the roots of the pines may make it hard to grow most shrubs under. If not making the soil hard packed the shrubs may be competing for water and nutrients. Again like Krystal said these plants do much better when they get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. You might check to make sure the soil is not staying too wet under the pines. Too wet a soil will cause poor growth. It can also cause root rot or other fungal diseases that in time will kill these shrubs. Unfortunately very few plants are actually deer resistant especially if there favorite foods are scarce. There are several sprays you can use to help deter deer but I really haven't found one that works well. I actually use a motion detecting sprinkler system that has worked really well. I have an article in Gardenality regarding this system. PROTECTING YOUR GARDEN FROM RACCOONS You may be interested in reading this article.

2 weeks, 2 days ago ·
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Kristal Walsh

Kristal Walsh · Gardenality Seedling · Zone 8B · 15° to 20° F
Thanks for that, John! Tried to give you another Thumbs up but it is not cooperating right now. Will try again later. Hope you are doing well. Kristal

2 weeks, 1 day ago ·
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