Loropetalum

Loropetalum, Loropetalum chinense, sometimes called Chinese fringe flower, is a versatile shrub that is a member of the witch hazel family.

It usually grows as a round shrub. Different varieties range from 3 feet to 10 feet tall with arching branches bearing soft 1-2 inch long leaves. The older common form has green leaves with white flowers, each with 4 narrow petals, clustered at the branch tips. The new pink-flowered forms have deep maroon leaves.

Flowering is heaviest in the spring but sporadic flowers are likely to occur at anytime of the year.

Loropetalum can be grown in mild coastal climates in light shade to full sun, yet it easily tolerates the colder winter temperatures and heat associated with other parts of Georgia. Plant in neutral to slightly acidic soil and irrigate occasionally – plants prefer it moist but not wet.

The red-leaf/pink flower form of loropetalum has made it a star of the horticultural world in only a decade.

HARDINESS A test garden in Georgia recorded 4 degrees F without damage to Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum cultivars.

DESCRIPTIONS (taken from San Marcos Growers)

Loropetalum chinense
This is the species shrub with white flowers. It is a dense rounded shrub with arching branches bearing soft 1-2 inch long light green leaves that typically only grows to 3-5 feet tall although older specimens can be found that have obtained the height to 15 feet. This is a great plant for the woodland garden.

Purple Leaf varieties

‘Blush’
This cultivar was one of the first red flowered forms to hit the nursery trade. It is an exceptionally nice plant that is listed as growing to 6 feet tall to 4-5 ft. wide. In a test garden, a 3 year old plant has reached 4 feet tall and appears more upright and open growing than ‘Hines Purpleleaf’. The foliage of ‘Blush’ emerges a rose-red then turns to a medium green. In a coastal climate, where this plant is always putting on new leaves, this makes for a multi-colored effect and as there are always some green tinged leaves present on this plant, it is more useful in a natural setting than other red leafed forms. The rose-pink flowers are lighter in color and larger than ‘Hines Purpleleaf’. This plant appears to be the same plant that is marketed under the name ‘Monraz’ by Monrovia Nursery.

‘Burgundy’
The new foliage on this evergreen shrub is reddish-purple then matures to purple-green. In the fall, the foliage will again change colors to a brilliant red. The pink flower blooms intermittently throughout the year. Grows 6-10 feet tall and as wide. Same growing requirements as other Loropetalum varieties. May be the same plant as what is called Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Sizzling Pink’

‘Hines Purpleleaf’ – Plum Delight (TM)
This plant is a very attractive cultivar retains good dark foliage color year round. Hines nursery describes it as a “rounded evergreen shrub that has gracefully arching branches similar to ‘Bridal Wreath’ Spirea”. Mature size is 6-8 feet tall with a similar spread. The leaves, with a slight undulation through their length, emerge a rosy red and age to a dark bronze. The flowers, with 4 thin dark rose colored petals are clustered at the branch tips – flowers are smaller and darker than the cultivar ‘Blush’

‘Purple Majesty’
Rounded, evergreen shrub with graceful, arching branches to 6-8 ft. tall. Bright fuchsia, fringe flowers appear in masses in spring and then throughout the year. New growth is a dark burgandy, ultimately maturing to a brilliant purple. Can be used in a variety of ways – in mass plantings as a hedge; as a specimen tree or as a patio tree. Hardy to 15-20̊ F. Very similar to ‘Hines Purpleleaf’.

‘Raspberry Fringe’
A compact evergreen shrub with bronze-red new growth, with age the leaves turn olive-green. The pink flowers bloom through out the year, peaking in April. It will grow 4-6 feet high and as wide. May just be another name for Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Blush’.

‘Ruby’
A compact, rounded evergreen shrub with shiny, ruby red young leaves. Pink, fringe flowers that bloom year round. 3-5 ft. tall. Sun or dappled shade. 15-20̊ F. Leaves are more rounded and undulating than other varieties. Also the smallest shrub.

‘Fire Dance’
Upright, arching habit with rich, ruby red new growth changing to a lustrous reddish-purple. At maturity, the leaves change to green with only a hint of reddish pigment left. ‘Fire Dance’ has good foliage color and the flowers are dark pink. A fast grower to 3-6 ft. tall, these are excellent container plants. Hardy to 15-20̊ F. Sun or shade. This selection introduced by Piroche Plants in Canada.

‘Pipa’s Red’
Upright shrub w/ fountain shaped habit to 5 ft tall. Very dark purple foliage and bright pink flowers.

‘Zhuzhou Fuchsia’
A very dark cultivar with persistant blackish maroon leaves. A upright plant that is among the largest of the cultivars, to 10 feet. Flowers are deep pink. This plant can be trained as a standard or espaliered.

THE NAME

The name Loropetalum is derived from the greek words loron, a strap, and petalon, a leaf or petal in reference to the narrow flower petals. Various cultivar names have caused some confusion as to the identity of a plant purchased. It is always difficult when a plant cultivar name is listed with a second trademark name (TM) added on.

This has to do with laws governing trademarks and plant cultivar names (you can’t trademark a cultivar name) and is a practice that nurseries use to discourage others from growing a particular plant; more often than not, it just leads to consumer confusion. If a nursery legitimately owns the rights to a plant, it will have a patent number or a patent pending on the plant.

Trademarks, on the other hand are just names that are registered, not a product. Most people will end up calling the plants by their catchy trademark names, rather then by the culivar names, however, they should know that the legitimate names, and the ones that should be used by nurseries growing these plants. These are those names inside the single quotation marks. If a plant has a valid Plant Patent the patent number must be displayed on a tag at the time of resale and if the patented plant has been reproduced by a nursery it must receive the rights to do this from the individual who holds the patent rights.

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