Loropetalums are cold hardy in a range of USDA zones 7-10 and require minimal maintenance. Once established, they are very tolerant of drought conditions. Below are some basic guidelines for maintenance and care of loropetalum.
Transplanting easily from containers, loropetalums preferred growing conditions include sun to partial shade (especially afternoon shade) and organically-rich, gritty, acidic soil with good drainage, though they are adaptable to less than ideal soils.
Follow these step-by-step instructions for planting a loropetalum.
- Dig a planting hole at least three times as wide as the root ball of the plant.
- Thoroughly mix in organic matter/ soil amendment at at least a 25% ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. In dense or compacted clay soils you might want to amend at a 50/50 ratio.
- Carefully remove the plant's root ball from the container it was grown in and place it in the planting hole, making sure that the top edge of the root ball is slightly above ground level.
- Use your soil mixture to back-fill around the root ball, tamping soil as you go to remove air pockets. Back-fill to top edge of root ball, making sure not to put any soil on top of the root ball.
- If the planting site is very dry, and/or will be difficult to provide supplemental irrigation if and when there is a drought, you can build a water retention berm around the planting hole. Use leftover soil mixture to build the berm to 1 or 2 inches in height. This berm will serve to capture rainfall, directing it to the root zone.
- Deeply water after planting.
- Apply a 2-inch layer of shredded wood mulch or pine straw around the plant and you're done!
Care & Maintenance of Loropetalum
As already mentioned, once established, loropetalums require little maintenance or care. Here's a few helpful tips.
Feeding - Loropetalums don't require but will appreciate regular feeding. Fertlize loropetalums after they bloom in early spring, and again in late spring and early fall with a good shrub & tree type fertilizer or a natural or organic shrub and tree food. Always follow instructions on the package of fertilizer for application rates.
Pruning - Loropetalums do not require pruning however, if you want to prune them to maintain a desired shape or form, they respond very well to almost any amount of pruning. Loropetalums can be pruned almost any time of year however it is best to cease pruning during the two months prior to the first frost date in fall. If you have a taller growing loropetalum, you can remove lower branches after the spring bloom to form a single- or multi-trunk small tree. If you want to grow them as a formal or semi-formal hedge, you can shear them any time of year except for the two months prior to first frost. If your loropetalum has become too large, outgrowing the space it was intended to fill, you can cut it back as far as to stumps and it will fill back out with foliage.
Watering - Once established, loropetalums are very drought tolerant shrubs that even during prolonged periods of dry weather or drought will require little if any supplemental irrigation.
Problems - Loropetalums have very few any any serious pest or disease problems. Deer don't like them. Consistently wet soil can cause problems with the roots. Too much shade can reduce bloom production. Leaves may become chlorotic (yellow or discolored) in alkaline soil with a pH greater than 7.0. If this occurs, add chelated iron, aluminum sulfate and or soil sulfur to make soil more acidic. Follow application instructions on product label.