Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: February 21, 2008

Purple PixieTM Loropetalum
Loropetalum chinensis 'Shang-lo'

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Species Native Range: China
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-10
Mature Size: 1-2 feet tall x 4 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Average, well-drained
Drought Tolerance: Excellent
Ease of Culture: Easy

Finally! A weeping and dwarf variety of Loropetalum is available. When loropetalums first hit retail nurseries over a decade ago, we fell in love with a practically pest-free, drought-tolerant, evergreen, blooming shrub that thrived in full sun and partial shade. It even repeat bloomed with sporadic flowers from late spring into fall. However, the early cultivars were giants with some reaching nearly 20 feet tall if left unpruned. As the years progressed, we started getting smaller and smaller varieties. An earlier dwarf cultivar named 'Bill Wallace' unfortunately turned out to be a weak plant with high mortality rates. It appears that problem has been solved with this relatively new introduction.

PP loropetalum has deep burgundy leaves and fuchsia flowers in very early spring. Sporadic lone flowers will appear from spring through late summer with a lesser flush of blooming in fall. Although the plant can tolerate partial shade, foliage color and blooming will be better in full sun.

Use PP loropetalum as a groundcover or as a low specimen shrub at the front of a bed, border or along a foundation where a shorter plant is needed. Good companion plants include 'Color Guard' yucca, pink muhly grass, 'New Gold' lantana, 'Carefree Sunshine' rose, 'Mops' false cypress and 'Mother Lode' juniper. In fact, it makes a stunning combination with any conifer that has golden or variegated foliage. PP loropetalum also works extremely well in containers or larger hanging baskets.

Sources

This plant is relatively new to the retail market, so some searching may be in order. You might check with:

Pike Family Nurseries
John Deere Landscapes: Alpharetta (770) 740-2820
Hastings Nursery: Atlanta (404) 869-7447
Buck Jones Nursery: Grayson & Woodstock
Cofer's Nursery: Athens

Please support our local nurseries by making them your first choice for superior plants and professional staff who can help you make the best selections for your landscape.



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