Loropetalum chinensis features profuse blooms.
image by KenPei:commons.wikimedia.org
Loropetalum, also commonly known as Chinese witch hazel and fringe flower, is a dramatic blooming shrub or small tree native to Japan, China and Southeastern Asia. Loropetalum blooms in the spring with dripping clusters of long petaled flowers in shades of pale pink, cerise and crisp white. Grown as an ornamental ,it is hardy in USDA zones 7a through 10b. It thrives in acidic soil and in both full sun and partial shade exposures.
Select a growing site with a full sun to partial daily shade exposure. While loropetalum will thrive in partial shade conditions some degree of flowering performance may be sacrificed with reduced sunlight. Choose a site that will easily accommodate the shrub at maturity to prevent the need for transplanting which loropetalum does not like. With ideal growing conditions plan for growth 5 feet in height and up to 15 feet in spread.
Provide loropetalum with a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil amended with peat moss to raise the acidity. Mulch the base of the plant out to the drip line with a thick blanket of organic mulch such as shredded bark, compost, well-aged manure or leaf mold or a combination of these. Organic mulch will enrich and feed the soil as well as prevent moisture loss and keep competitive weeds at bay.
Water your loropetalum so that the soil remains consistently moist but not soaking wet. When the soil feels slightly dry to the touch an inch or two down, give it a deep watering of a 1/2 to1 inch of water, depending on your season and climate.
Fertilize with an acidic formula for flowering shrubs like those recommended for rhododendrons and azaleas. Apply to wet soil according to the manufacturer's dosing directions and schedule, erring on the side of under fertilizing rather than over feeding to prevent burn to the shrub roots.
Prune away any damaged or diseased branches as you spot them during the growing season. Prune annually for size and shape in the fall before frost. To completely reshape or restructure an overgrown shrub, aggressively shear it and thin the interior with loppers in the early fall which will give your loropetalum time for recovery and some degree of rebound for the following spring.