The frilly fringe flower

hot pink flowers and attractive burgundy foliage
Loropetalum – hot pink flowers and attractive burgundy foliage

We live in a gigantic garden here in Charlotte County divided only by fences and roads.  In landscapes, gas stations parking lots, and other assorted sites you are likely to see common landscape materials such as dwarf variegated schefflera, Indian Hawthorn, viburnum, dwarf holly and then on occasion something different – Loropetalum.  Loropetalum has several other names including Chinese witch hazel or Chinese fringe flower.  The most common one around here is Loropetalum chinensis rubrum which has florescent pink flowers resembling frilly tassels.  Very distinct with seasonal color, this Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ approved plant may be of interest to you.

When you view the flowers of the Loropetalum, you might see the similarity to a northern plant called witch-hazel.   Witch-hazel is a common large shrub up north with yellow or orange frilly flowers in the fall, winter or early spring depending on the species.  Loropetalum, members of the witch-hazel family, are well-adapted to our climate.  The flowers on the Loropetalum are pretty similar to witch-hazel, only a stunningly bright pink in color.  This shrub can grow to eight feet tall but is best kept pruned to six feet – prune in late spring after the flowers have faded.  While dwarf cultivars are available, one of the most popular types found locally is ‘Plum Delight™’ with pink flowers and purplish leaves that age to a bronzy-purple when mature. You may even encounter other similar cultivars which have equal appeal including ‘Pizzazz™’ and ‘Sizzlin’ Pink’.   So, in addition to the colorful flowers, the attractive evergreen burgundy foliage offers interest the remainder of the year.

Loropetalum are easy to grow in full sun sites with well-drained soil.  If installed in a designated planting bed, consider adding organic amendments such as some peat moss as Loropetalum appreciate acid soil conditions.  I have seen them as mass plantings, but also consider their use as a shrub border or as a specimen accent plant.  Space plants thirty-six to sixty inches apart for best results.

While some older Loropetalum cultivars have had issues with nutrient deficiencies in the past, the cultivars noted above seem to be doing fine in our area.  Make sure that your Loropetalum is planted properly – not too deeply and water to get this shrub established and as needed on into the future.

Loropetalum are perfectly hardy in our area. The brilliant, almost azalea-pink flowers are unlike any in our area.  They are readily available at almost any garden center or nursery – keep an eye out now as they are in full bloom!  For more information on flowering shrubs suitable for our area, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension  Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov. Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Resources:
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions – Loropetalum.  (2022) The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Gilman, E. F. Klein R. W. & Hansen, G.  (2023)LOROPETALUM CHINENSIS CHINESE FRINGE BUSH.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Popenoe, J. Warwick, C. R. & Chen, J. (2018) Key Plant, Key Pests: Chinese Fringe (Loropetalum chinense) The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Sewards J. & Shober,  A. L. (2014) Improving the Health of Declining Loropetalum in the Home Landscape.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Landre, C. (2023) Loropetalum chinensis ‘Plum’. South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com.
Witch-hazel (2024) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hazel.

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ralph mitchell
Posted: March 19, 2024


Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes
Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, Flowering, Gardening, Loropetalum Chinensis Rubrum, Witch-hazel


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