Q: When and how do I go about pruning my ‘Zhuzhou Fuchsia’ loropetalum. It has grown long limbs and is very open. I’d prefer it to be a little bushier. All the books say it needs little pruning.
A: It all depends on how you define “little pruning”. If you’d like a shrub ten feet high and six feet wide simply do no pruning for four years. If you want something much smaller, a loropetalum goes from needing “little pruning” to “a lot of pruning”. The shrub itself is one of my favorites because it is drought tolerant, pest free and blooms wonderfully in spring. In addition, loropetalum is easy to prune to any size you like. It won’t stay that small for more than six months, but you can always just prune it back again as needed.
The white-flowered form of loropetalum has been in the nursery trade for many years but the pink-flowered form was introduced from China in 1989. Several varieties are available: ‘Blush”, ‘Burgundy’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Zhuzhou Fuschia’ are common. Long sprouts arise from the center of the plant when it is given lots of sunshine, fertilizer and regular watering. The best time to prune (because it resprouts small twigs and leaves so quickly) is in March. If yours is very overgrown, you could reduce it in size by one-quarter now and further in spring.