Loropetalums…not Low Petalums

Oh my goodness, how terrible these wonderful plants are treated by the hedge-clipper wielding masochistic masses! These amazing plants are large shrubs/small trees…not foundation shrubs…geez! We currently grow 27 cultivars, and need to replace three that we managed to kill. Purportedly some of these newer selections actually stay more compact, but that remains to be seen in our in-ground trials. Here are a few of our older specimens along with their actual measured size.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Crimson Fire’ (advertised as growing 4′ tall x 4-5′ wide) measures 6′ tall x 8′ wide after only 4 years. Growth rate is increasing and it looks like it should reach a mature size of 24′ tall x 32′ wide.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Crimson Fire’

Loropetalum chinense ‘Pippa’s Red’ (below) has reached 35′ tall x 20′ wide in 20 years.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Pippa’s Red’

The bicolor, genetically unstable Loropetalum ‘Ruby Snow’ (advertised as growing 6′ tall x 6′ wide) is 6′ tall x 8′ wide after 4 years, so mature size will probably be 24′ tall x 32′ wide. The dueling colors create an amazing effect.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Ruby Snow’

Loropetalum ‘Shang-hi’ (below), marketed as Purple Diamond, has reached 12′ tall x 16′ wide in twelve years, and the growth rate appears to be slowing.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Shang Hi’

Loropetalum ‘Snow Panda’ (below) is 7′ tall x 10′ wide after 5 years. The original plant, introduced by the US National Arboretum is 10′ tall x 8.5′ wide after fifteen years. It’s odd that our plant is growing so differently here.

Loropetalum chinense ‘Snow Panda’

Loropetalum chinense ‘Zuzhou’ (below) is our oldest remaining loropetalum at 26 years. Mature size is now 20′ tall x 24′ wide. We had older specimens of the original US National Arboretum introductions ‘Blush’ and ‘Burgundy’, but these were discarded to make room for more improved selections.

Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum ‘Zuzhou’

Please consider buying a tape measure to help get this sited so that they never need to meet a pair of mutilators (i.e. hedge trimmers) in person.

8 thoughts on “Loropetalums…not Low Petalums”

  1. Finally–Yes. they are gorgeous trees. I learned this by visiting a local garden where they had been arborized over twenty years— and I was astonished. Since then white and pink Loropetalum are trees in my garden…. while some are still sheared to hedges form around 4-6 feet tall. The show is glorious!

  2. Thank you for bringing to attention the “advertised” mature size to the actual mature size. That is the “thing” that annoys me so very much in my own garden. I have removed/moved if possible various plantings for that very thing – growing far more than the site accommodated!

  3. Gregory Irving

    Really appreciate this post. I’m trying to get more friends to grow loropetalum in SE VA. I sent around this post to help make my case.

  4. Ann Dellavalle

    Thank you for calling attention to this oft repeated horticultural nightmare! I replaced a sickly azalea with a one gallon plant two years ago; this spring it was splendid at~ 15 ‘ with a mature redwood and my neighbor’s Bradford pear as backdrop. Down the street is a perfect magenta cube with a mailbox sticking out the top, at least 7 years old. Pity!

  5. I am inquiring from Turkey.
    Is it possible to propogate Loropetalum from seeds? If yes, where can I order?
    Thank you

  6. Hello. I bought a gorgeous 50+ y.o loropetalum in a bonsai form with 3 meters height and a really thick trunk. I have heard that they live long and all but i can’t seem to find any information on *how* long. I’d be sad if mine died in a few years. I know it depends on care and environmental factors but do you happen to know examples of loropetalum that live beyond 50 years? Also I’d love to learn from your experience dealing with these plants – do you have any tips and tricks you know that work (perhaps found through trial and error). Thank you in advance.

    Love from Turkey,
    Kayra Yalcin

    1. Wow…that’s an interesting question. We don’t have any first hand experience with bonsai, but have seen many bonsai plants exceed their typical lifespan due to the constant rejuvenation nature of bonsai. We have loropetalums that are approaching 40 years of age with no sign of decline, so I’d expect them to keep going long after #50.

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