Loropetalum chinense


Medium-sized evergreen shrub, native to Asia, Loropetalum has an enlarged growth habit, with a densely branched stem, and branches with mainly horizontal development; within a few years they can reach 2-3 meters in height. The foliage is small, oval, dark green. In late spring they produce small flowers with linear petals, white in color, similar to witch hazel flowers. In cultivation it is easy to find the rubrum variety, with dark red foliage and bright pink flowers, very particular. There are also dwarf varieties on the market, which can be used as ground cover plants. Generally they do not need pruning, although after flowering it may be necessary to reduce the branches that come out of the foliage.
The loropetalum chinense is a very interesting shrub, especially if we consider the amount of different cultivars available on the market. The species, in fact, is generally unattractive given its medium green leaves with white flowers. Thanks to the research, however, today we can buy very decorative specimens for the chromatic contrast that is created between the foliage (in interesting shades of pink, red and purple) and the petals. Even the contrast between the two textures can only add an ornamental note to our green space, be it a garden, a balcony or a terrace.
It should also be emphasized that both the emission of the leaves and the flowering in this plant take place quite early: this makes it doubly valuable given that it gives color and liveliness at a time when the other plants are still almost bare.


place it in a bright, but sunny place only during the coolest hours of the day; they do not fear the cold, being able to bear even very cold temperatures without problems. If placed in an excessively shady place they have a harmonious development, but tend to produce few flowers.

Shrub and leaves Loropetalum

The loropetalum chinense It is an evergreen shrub that is part of the Hamamelidaceae family. It is in fact a close relative of the hamamelis and this is evident when observing the flowers. The genus includes 4-5 species coming from China, Korea and Japan. They mostly have the tendency to expand rapidly at the expense of upward growth. These plants are very suitable for the first floor of the borders or for the creation of siepine. In general we can say that an adult specimen will be about half a meter high by 80 cm wide. The leaves have an oval shape: the color can range from bright green to purplish red. Generally they are persistent, even if consistent and lasting frosts (below -10 ° C) can cause them to fall. However, this should not scare us because the plant will quickly cover itself as soon as the climate returns slightly sweeter. The new jets are very decorative because their color is often in sharp contrast with that of the branches of previous years.


in general, shrubs have been dwelling for some years without problems; however, it is advisable to water the young shrubs during the hottest periods of the year, but only if the soil is excessively dry. In autumn and spring it is advisable to add well-ripe organic fertilizer to the soil taken from the plant. It is also advisable to cover the ground at the foot of the loropetalum with mulching material, so as to keep the foot of the plant fairly fresh.
the loropetalum likes a substratum always fresh and slightly damp. It is therefore important to dedicate yourself regularly to watering and never let the area in which it is inserted dry completely. To reduce the number of interventions we can evaluate the insertion of an automatic irrigation system drop by drop. Further help can come from a thick mulching layer at the base of the plant. It will help keep the roots fresh and prevent excessive evaporation.
Potted plants should be monitored and followed even more carefully, especially in spring and summer, as the strong radiation due to the flooring greatly increases the desiccation of the substrate. It is however equally important to avoid over-irrigation because this could cause the onset of radical rot that is difficult to cure.

Loropetalum flowers

Towards March (but much depends on our geographical location) there is the production of flowers, gathered in groups: the long and fine shape of the petals, white, pink or red, gives them a very light and fluffy appearance. It is precisely the particular aspect of the inflorescences which is highlighted in the name of the plant. In fact, Loropetalum means wool petal.
Spring flowering is very abundant and lasting (most often persists for at least twenty days). The presence of flowers completely transforms the appearance of the plant since the branches are completely covered. Some varieties can produce new buds during the year, in summer, but in a less abundant way.

Planting Loropetalum

The best times to proceed are without a doubt spring and autumn. As with all shrubs the latter option is always preferable, especially if we live in areas that are not too rigid. During the winter our plant will have plenty of time to create a good radical apparatus on site and will be able to give us good satisfactions already from March.
We always proceed when the soil is well dissolved and dry, thus avoiding the days following long rains or frosts.
We create a hole that is twice as wide and deep compared to ground bread and we place a thick draining layer on the bottom and then a dose of bottom fertilizer for acidophilic plants. We cover and compact well. For the spacing between the various specimens, let's get up to date immediately informing us about the width they can have as adults. Let us remember that the loropetalum chinense it grows more in width than in height!


They prefer slightly acid soils, rich in humus and very well drained. When planting these shrubs it is good to avoid burying the plant neck, which must be placed at ground level, to avoid water stagnation.
The loropetalum chinense is a shrub that requires acid soil. Therefore it grows very well in the alpine areas or where the substrate is not absolutely calcareous, clayey or compact. It is however able to withstand soils with a neutral pH without being affected too much as growth or coloring of the leaves.
If in our garden the land does not turn out to be suitable we can engage ourselves by extracting it and completely replacing it with purchased material and committing ourselves by irrigating it only with rainwater.
An even better solution is to insert a large vessel in the ground so that the new substrate is completely separated from the surrounding one and is not consequently contaminated by calcium.
Because the plant lives well it is important that there is always an excellent drainage. It is good, therefore, at the moment of implantation, to create a thick base layer with gravel, pumice or pozzolana.


It occurs by seed, in spring, or by cuttings, in late summer.

Pests and diseases Loropetalum

They are generally not affected by pests or diseases. In case of excessive watering or water stagnation they are subject to root rot.
They are fairly healthy shrubs and are rarely attacked by insects or cryptogams.
It can happen that leaf chlorosis occurs due to an unsuitable soil pH. In this case we intervene by administering chelated iron and, in autumn, replacing the soil as much as possible. Radical rots are instead caused by poor drainage and too abundant and / or frequent irrigations.

Form and use of Loropetalum

Depending on the variety, the height can range from 1 to 5 meters. The habit is bushy and, as we have said, it tends to widen rather than grow in height. On the market, however, we can find dwarf or even more compact varieties. This shrub finds numerous uses: as an isolated specimen, in mixed hedges, in borders (especially compact varieties).
In recent years it has become very fashionable in small city gardens due to the persistence and beautiful colors of its leaves. It can easily be grown in pots (adapting the size to the final size that will reach the plant). It is also one of the favorite shrubs to be transformed into a beautiful bonsai.

History of Loropetalum

Loropetalum has only recently been introduced in Europe and has quickly become a very popular plant both in urban and in more informal gardens thanks to its slow growth and, consequently, to the low maintenance that it entails. Its origins can be found in China and in particular in the Himalayan area.

Fertilization Loropetalum

It should be done in autumn using a fertilizer for acidophilic in very light doses. Both liquid and granular formulations are good, although the latter are much more practical.

Protection from the cold

A thick mulching (or covering the containers with insulating material) is strongly recommended (especially in the North) during the first years after planting.
If we live in an area characterized by icy winds we can also resort to covering with special sheets so as to avoid excessive dehydration and the consequent fall of the leaves.

Loropetalum pruning

Generally pruning is not necessary since the growth is rather slow and the plant assumes its elegant natural shape. We intervene only to eliminate dead or damaged branches, in spring or autumn.

Loropetalum chinense: Variety

Here are some particularly interesting cultivars:

Family and gender
Leaf color Green, red, brown
Color flowers White, pink, red
Foliage are semi
Height From 1 to 5 m
Width Up to 3 m
Maintenance light
Water needs Average
Growth slow
RusticitŠ° Up to -10 ° C (but there are more delicate varieties)
Exposure Half shade
Use Mixed hedge, isolated specimen, border, in pot
Ground Acid, of leaves, never calcareous
Ph of the soil Acid or neutral
Soil humidity Always damp, but well drained
Propagation Talea

First nameFlowersVegetationOther characteristics
Rubrum Fuchsia, very fragrant Purple young shoots and leaves It continues to bloom slightly until autumn
Burgundy Light pink Red purple at the beginning, then light green Beautiful contrast between the leaves
Ever Red Cherry red Dark brown almost black, nice contrast with the flowers Very interesting in the mixed hedge
Garnet Fire Red Dark purple Very nice contrast with other plants with green foliage
Snow Muffin White Very compact habit, it does not exceed the meter nor height, nor width. Ideal for containers or mixed borders