Loropetalum, also called Chinese fringe flower, are evergreen, multi-stemmed shrubs of broadleaf variety that are most well-known for their delicate, fragrant blooms. Aside from their frilly flowers, the foliage of loropetalum is also of interest, changing colors throughout the year from hues of red to deep green. Plant these medium to fast-growing shrubs in the fall for clusters of subtly fragrant flowers in the spring.
Loropetalum Shrub Care
Chinese fringe flowers are considered to be low-maintenance, hardy, but showy, shrubs. These relatives of the witch hazel shrub, which share similar-looking fringe-like blooms, are adaptable to a wide range of light, soil, and moisture conditions. Chinese fringe flowers are also great privacy shrubs and can be used successfully for hedging or topiaries.
Grow Chinese fringe flowers in a bright, sunny location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Ideally, these shrubs should be protected from intense midday rays but receive dappled morning sun. They can also tolerate growing in sunny to part-shady conditions.
Chinese fringe flowers require well-draining, loamy, acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. A pH between 4.5 to 6.5 is best. To help retain moisture and suppress weeds, mulch around the root ball of a Chinese fringe flower shrub with 2 to 3 inches of compost, straw, or aged wood chips.
Young plants should be kept deeply watered when it is hot outside. Plan on giving shrubs about 2 inches of water once or twice a week. Once established, Chinese fringe flowers are relatively drought tolerant. However, they grow best when the soil is kept consistently moist.
Temperature and Humidity
Chinese fringe flowers grow best in USDA zones 7 to 10, tolerating winter temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius). However, in regions that experience chilly winters, it is recommended that Chinese fringe flowers are planted in areas that protect them from cold winter winds.
Mix compost into the soil at planting time. Not only will the compost act as a slow-release fertilizer, but it will also improve drainage. This is important for a loropetalum shrub, which is susceptible to root rot.1 For the same reason, when you plant the bush, be sure not to sink the top of the root ball below the soil surface.
If they are planted in the right soil, Chinese fringe flowers require little to no supplemental fertilizer once they are established. If desired, established plants can benefit from annual fertilizing in early spring with a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer, or one that is specially formulated for shrubs. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions.
However, Chinese fringe flowers that are planted in nutrient-poor soil will require additional feeding. Amend the soil regularly with organic matter such as compost, grass and leaf clippings, and manure (composted).
Types of Loropetalum
The typical loropetalum has green foliage and white or off-white flowers. Other varieties have bright red or pink flowers and purple foliage that make this bush popular in landscaping. Here are a few favorite varieties with colorful blooms:
'Pizazz' grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide, and features lovely plum-colored flowers with dark purple leaves.
'Burgundy' grows up to 10 feet and offers pink blooms with reddish-purple leaves that become greenish-purple in the summer, then bright red in autumn.
'Ruby' averages 4 feet in height and width with hot pink flowers and ruby-red foliage, plus it's a true dwarf, ideal for a nicely compact, rounded shrub.
'Ever Red' grows about 5 feet high and wide with flowers that bloom a true red with burgundy leaves.
'Razzleberri' reaches an average of 4 to 6 feet tall and wide with raspberry-red flowers and leaves that bear a hint of burgundy.
'Shang-Red', also known by brand names Red Diamond or Purple Diamond ('Shang-hi') because they are nearly identical, grows up to 6 feet tall. Both have rich burgundy foliage with deep red or purple-pink flowers.