When planted right, and in the right spot, Loropetalum plants are exceptionally easy to grow and care for. 


Here's a breakdown of what you need to know...

(Scroll down for container planting instructions)


Cultural Preferences


Soil

Loropetalum is not picky about soil type, however prefers a somewhat loose, fertile and well-drained soil. As with so many other types of ornamental plants, constantly soggy or wet soil can and often will cause root rot and other harmful plant diseases.


How To Test Soil Drainage  

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant your Loropetalum, it's well worth taking the time to test the drainage before planting. To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.


Soil pH

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil, which is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline.

Loropetalum are acid-loving plants that grow best in an acid to slightly acid soil ranging from 4.0 to 6.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 

If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or whether or not it's suitable for growing Loropetalum, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH testing kit or probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil SulfurAluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.


Light

Loropetalum will grow in full, all-day sun or part shade. For best foliage color and flowering provide at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day or all-day lightly filtered sun. Morning sun with afternoon shade is fine. Morning shade with afternoon sun is fine. 



Planting Loropetalum In The Ground

Scroll down for container planting instructions


Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and no deeper than the rootball of the plant. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.


Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the native soil in the planting area it might be beneficial to amend the native soil. When planting in dense clay or other compacted soils it is beneficial to thoroughly mix in some bagged top soil and/or a good planting mix at a 50/50 ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy, quick-draining soil you might want to consider mixing in some top soil, peat moss and/or compost to help retain moisture. When planting in fertile, loamy, well-drained soil there is no need for adding a soil amendment.


Step 3

Be very careful when removing your Loropetalum from the nursery pot it was growing in. To avoid damaging the plant, we suggest cutting the container away rather than trying to lift the root ball from the container. After having removed the plant from the container, use your fingers or a claw tool to gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. 


Step 4

If you are planting in well-drained soil set your Loropetalum in the planting hole so that the top edge of the rootball is at or slightly above ground level. If your soil drains slowly, holding water for an extended period of time after rainfall or irrigation, the top of the root ball should be 2 to 3 inches above ground level, as shown in the planting diagram below. If necessary, add some backfill soil mixture to the bottom of the hole to achieve proper planting height. 

NOTE: If the soil is poorly drained (constantly soggy or wet)  plant the root ball in a raised mound entirely above ground level or select a different plant species more tolerant of wet soils.  




Step 5

After setting your Loropetalum in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the plant straight and your other hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. If you are planting higher than ground level taper your soil mixture gradually from the top edge of the root ball to the ground level, as shown in the planting diagram above. To avoid suffocating your plant, avoid placing any soil on top of the root ball.


Step 6 (Optional)

When planting Loropetalum in a location that is far from a water source, you can use remaining soil mixture to build a water retaining berm (catch basin/doughnut) around the outside perimeter of the planting hole. Only build this berm if the soil is very well-drained. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation often reducing the need for hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a year or so when the plant has established itself.


Step 7 

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, and to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development, you can also water you newly planted Loropetalum with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.


Step 8

Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of shredded or chipped wood mulch or a 3-4-inch layer of pine straw around the planting area to conserve moisture and to suppress weed growth. As the mulch decomposes it will add vital nutrients to the soil that your plants will appreciate. Avoid using freshly chipped or shredded wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your plant as this could cause the bark to rot. 



Container Planting Instructions


Loropetalum are ideal for use in container gardens. Loropetalum growing in pots appreciate a moist but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy soil can and often will cause root rot or other harmful plant diseases. Therefore, when planting Loropetalum in a container, make sure it has a drainage hole(s) and use a quality potting soil or potting mix, or a 50/50 combination thereof for planting. You can also add some perlite or pumis to the soil mix to help with drainage. 

Choose a container that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before shifting up to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 8 inches or more in width than the root ball of your plant. 

Container color will matter as well. Not only will you want to pick a color of container that goes well with the flower and foliage color of your Loropetalum, you'll also want to pick a container that matches the style of your home or other structures and other plants in the surrounding environment. 

Many nursery & garden centers offer a wide variety of containers to choose from. Before heading out to buy a container take pictures of your home and the surrounding environment. Doing so will help you to choose just the right color and style.


Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, we recommend lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming stopped up with soil. Avoid using stones or other materials in the bottom of pots as roots can grow through these and clog drainage holes.


Step 2

Be very careful when removing your Loropetalum from the nursery pot it was growing in. To avoid damaging the plant, we suggest cutting the container away rather than trying to lift the root ball from the container. After having removed the plant from the container, use your fingers or a claw tool to gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball. 


Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set your Loropetalum plant in the container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the root ball will sit 1" or so below the rim of the container.



Step 4

Backfill with your potting soil around root ball, tamping as you go, until the level of potting soil is even with the top edge of root ball.


Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more potting mix if settling occurs during watering.


Step 6 (Optional)

Apply a 1/2" layer of pine bark or wood chips to soil surface to help conserve moisture. 



Related Articles





Plant Long & Prosper!

Questions? Contact Us!