Loropetalum is also known as the Chinese fringe flower. These evergreen, multi-stemmed shrubs of broadleaf variety got famous for their delicate and fragrant blooms. The foliage of Loropetalum is famous because it changes colors throughout the year. Its hues change from red to deep green.
The group of shrubs grows in southern states. They are flowering evergreens that grow in USDA hardiness zones 7-10. Another common name for the Loropetalum plant is butterfly bush.
Today, we will talk more about how you can grow this plant in your very own garden. The flower is native to Japan, China, and the Himalayas.
Get to know the plant
Let’s start by getting to know the plant. The common name is Loropetalum, but it is also known as Chinese witch hazel, Chinese fringe flower, and strap flower. On the other hand, it has only one botanical name, and that is Loropetalum chinense.
It belongs to the family of Hamamelidaceae, which is the witch hazel family. The mature size of the flower can go between 6 feet and 15 feet with the same width.
It blooms in early spring, and it has pink, red, white, and yellow-white flower color. It depends on the type of the flower.
How do you care for the plant?
Let’s talk now about Loropetalum evergreen shrub care. This Chinese fringe flower is considered to be low-maintenance. As a relative of the witch hazel shrub, it shares similar-looking fringe blooms. Loropetalum is adaptable to a wide range of light, soil, and moisture conditions. Let’s see what you need to know.
While the Chinese fringe flowers can adapt to different light conditions, it is best that you grow them in a bright, sunny location that receives partial shade during the day. Ideally, they should be protected from intense midday rays. At the same time, they should receive dappled morning sun.
Loropetalum can also tolerate growing in sunny to part-shady conditions.
Speaking of soil, the foundation plant needs well-draining, loamy, and acidic soil. The soil should be rich in organic matter with a pH between 4.5 and 6.5.
Your maintenance routine should include helping to retain moisture and suppress weeds. So, mulch around the root ball of the shrub with 2 to 3 inches of compost.
Depending on the age of your plant, there are different watering needs. Young plants require deeply watering when it is hot outside. Give your evergreen shrub around 2 inches of water once or twice per week.
Once Chinese fringe flowers are established, they are relatively drought tolerant. But they still grow best when the soil is kept moist.
Temperature and humidity
We touched on this before. Chinese fringe flowers grow best in USDA zones 7 to 10. They can tolerate winter temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yet, if you live in a region with chilly winter, you should keep the plants in areas protected from cold winter winds.
This is one of the most important parts of maintenance and care. Mix compost into the soil at planting time. It will act as a slow-release fertilizer and improve drainage. Remember, the Loropetalum flowering shrub is susceptible to root rot.
That is why when you plant the butterfly bush you should be careful not to sink the top of the root below the soil surface.
When planted in ideal soil, this plant requires little to no supplemental fertilizer once established. Yet, if you plant them in nutrient-poor soil, make sure to add additional feeding.
We said before that Loropetalum is an evergreen plant. That means they require little care during winter. Yes, the growth rate slows down a bit during the cooler months. But the leaves should stay intact.
This plant does not flower during the winter. It is best that you leave the plants alone during the winter. Do not prune or fertilize. If you notice a period of drought, just water the plant.
When and how to plant?
If you want to grow Loropetalum, it is best that you plant it during the milder months of spring or fall. This will avoid shock from extreme heat or cold. As to where grow it in a sunny to a lightly shaded site in a container or landscape. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to plant Loropetalum.
- Dig a hole as deep as the root ball, but 2 to 3 times wider than it
- Remove the Loropetalum plant from its nursery pot. Loosen the soil around the roots
- Set the plant into the hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is at soil level or just slightly above
- Fill the hole with soil and then tamp down slightly. This will remove air pockets. Water well
- Mulch with a layer of shredded bark to retain moisture
We talked about how to care for the plant before, so once you plant it, follow the maintenance and care instructions. Remember, Loropetalum growth rate is about a foot per year. Yes, some varieties can double that and grow up to two feet annually.
Loropetalum combines well with other shrubs, trees, and perennials. Some good ideas for companion plants include viburnum, lavender, hydrangea, spirea, lily turf, agapanthus, and Japanese forest grass.
Types of Loropetalum plants
If you want the typical Loropetalum, it is a plant with green foliage and white or off-white flowers. But there are other varieties that have bright red or pink flowers. Here are some popular Loropetalum varieties.
- Pizazz grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide with dark purple leaves and plum flowers
- Burgundy is a variety that grows up to 10 feet and offers pink bloom with reddish-purple leaves, as well as burgundy foliage
- Ruby Loropetalum is shorter, growing at 4 feet in height and width, providing hot pink flowers and ruby-red foliage
- Razzleberri grows between 4 to 6 feet tall and wide and has raspberry-red flowers
How to choose the best Loropetalum for your home?
We mentioned there are varieties of the Chinese fringe flower. How to pick the right one for you? Here are a few tips.
- For borders and landscapes, go with quick-growing varieties that offer maximum impact. You can use them as hedging or screening along a property line
- For slopes and hillsides, select a dwarf or groundcover type. This one will fill in quickly
- For containers, also go with a dwarf variety that will grow in a decorative container. You can display it in a key area, like your patio or entryway
We said Loropetalum plant is an easy-care and fuss-free plant. Yet, there might be problems with it.
One of the most common Loropetalum issues is yellowing leaves. It is a sign that the soil is too acidic, reaching well over pH 7. It might also signal a problem with mites.
When the leaves do not turn purple, it is a sign your plant is in too much shade or too much sun. Again, acidic soil can be a problem. But usually, you have failed to reach the balance between shade and sun.
If your plant is not blooming, it is because of pruning during the winter. Usually, the plant blooms in spring and summer.