Loropetalum for Winter Interest

It is that time of year when your garden is lacking something – color is gone, leaves are missing and interest is waning. Evergreen trees and shrubs help maintain your landscaping base throughout the year but only provides shades of green during the winter months. To combat these problems I suggest inserting some color into your landscape that lasts all year round.

Loropetalum is a plant that saw a spike in popularity a decade or so back and has been used in a variety of different situations. Loropetalum has seen its popularity drop a little due to its vulnerability in cold conditions and root rot issues. It is an excellent plant for maintaining color in your yard throughout the dull months of winter and if you avoid historically wet spots when planting has a very high success rate.

Michael Dirr introduces loropetalum in his iconic book, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by writing:

“If prescriptions could be written for perfect garden plants, this species would come close to filling the order…Easy to manage, unbelievably drought-tolerant, and pest-free. I consider it one of the top introductions of the past 10 years.”

Now that’s a recommendation from one of the most respected plant minds in the country, so if you don’t believe me then maybe you will listen to Mr. Dirr, who wrote the book on landscape shrubs. Dirr loved the contrast of emerald green boxwoods and loropetalum as a dual layer hedge to provide layers and depth to his planting designs.


This is a combination that I use in my designs quite frequently, especially when a client desires a low maintenance evergreen base with no added color from perennials or annuals. In my opinion you can not go wrong with this color combination as it looks just as good in June as it does in January.

Loropetalum has a very unique bloom that can take place several times a year depending on weather conditions. The main bloom is in late February and continues thru March with sporadic blooms throughout the summer when temperatures are mild and rain is adequate. The bloom itself is neon pink with 8-12 filaments forming a clump at the ends of branches and in leaf axes. As you can imagine this display of blooms in early March is quite phenomenal especially when little else is in bloom. The contrast of burgundy with hot pink is very pleasing to the eye and one that will leave a lasting impression.

If you are a landscape designer or a homeowner looking to add some color to your local scenery then give loropetalum a try – it can be found at virtually any plant provider and comes in full size (6x6ft) and dwarf varieties (3x3ft) that will fit into any existing landscape.