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Avoid problems with right loropetalum The Post and Courier
For those unfamiliar with terry cloth, its a shirt made from a towel. This is no joke. I had to take matters into my own hands. I smuggled clothes in the bottom of my book bag and changed at a friends house before school and changed back before I got home. No one got hurt and everyone was happy.
Nowadays, my attire consists of seven Tshirts. Im not the bestdressed, maybe even underdressed, but Im clean and comfortable. Because I like things simple.
The same applies to the landscape: I like a simple, lowmaintenance plant. And if its showy, thats a bonus. Please welcome Chinese fringe flower Loropetalum chinense, commonly known as loropetalum.
Loropetalum grows best in full sun but will take some shade, although shade can cut down on flowering. It handles reasonable drought and pruning well. Fringe flower refers to the lacy flowers that bloom in late March. The standard species has green, fuzzy leaves and white flowers. It gets about 10 feet tall, but the Carolina Moonlight variety gets about 5 feet and the new variety Snowmound stays only 2 or 3 feet.
Loropetalums popularity really took off with the introduction of the rubrum varieties. While the greenleafed/whiteflowered species were fine, the rubrums had burgundy foliage and sizzling pink flowers. Some varieties flower so profusely they blaze in the spring for two to three weeks. Most grow 10 to 12 feet tall and, given enough time, can be limbed up to form a small tree. It actually has interesting bark.
The cultivar Burgundy is an old favorite that gets about 10 feet tall. The new leaves emerge maroon and fade to green as they age. Blush and Plums Delight are similar versions of Burgundy, growing about 5 to 8 feet tall. Blooms peak in April and then flower sporadically throughout the summer. Ever Red Sunset is similar in size, a bit shorter at 6 feet, with red flowers instead of pink.
Zhuzhou is more upright, a good candidate for treeform pruning, with the darkest foliage that remains a deep plum color throughout the summer.
Dwarf varieties, such as Purple Pixie, get only 2 or 3 feet tall, and Bill Wallace grows to 5 feet. These dwarfs make a great foundation planting that doesnt overcrowd windows or hedges. Ive had good success with Purple Pixie in full sun, exhibiting some of the darkest foliage of any cultivar throughout the growing season.
However, some varieties come with problems. Ruby loropetalum was to be a dwarf variety that only grew 4 feet and became very popular after its release. While it was compact, many people watched it grow much taller. And now Ruby can suffer from loropetalum decline, where the new growth is stunted and contorted and it flowers sporadically. To cure the deficiency, copper solutions would need to be sprayed quarterly.
For the homeowner, this isnt feasible, especially when there are so many outstanding loropetalums that dont suffer from this condition. My recommendation is to plant something besides Ruby.
I just recently dug up one in my yard, moved it to the back and limbed it up into treeform to appreciate the form, knowing I wont get many flowers.