Loropetalum Is Green Not Purple: Why Are Loropetalum Leaves Turning Green

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By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Loropetalum is a lovely flowering plant with deep purple foliage with glorious fringed flowers. Chinese fringe flower is another name for this plant, which is in the same family as witch hazel and bears similar blooms. The flowers are evident March through April, but the bush still has seasonal appeal after the blooms drop.

Most species of Loropetalum bear maroon, purple, burgundy or even nearly black leaves, presenting a unique foliar aspect for the garden. Occasionally your Loropetalum is green not purple or the other hues in which it comes. There is a very simple reason for Loropetalum leaves turning green but first we need a little science lesson.

Reasons a Purple Loropetalum Turns Green

Plant leaves gather solar energy through their leaves and respirate from the foliage as well. Leaves are very sensitive to light levels and heat or cold. Often the new leaves of a plant come out green and change to a darker color as they mature.

The green foliage on purple leafed Loropetalum is often just baby foliage. The new growth can cover the older leaves, preventing sun from reaching them, so purple Loropetalum turns green under the new growth.

Other Causes of Green Foliage on a Purple Leafed Loropetalum

Loropetalum is native to China, Japan and the Himalayas. They prefer temperate to mildly warm climates and are hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10. When Loropetalum is green and not purple or its proper color, it may be an effect of excess water, dry conditions, too much fertilizer or even the result of a rootstock reverting.

Lighting levels seem to have a large hand in leaf color too. The deep coloring is caused by a pigment which is influenced by UV rays. In higher solar doses, the excess light can promote green leaves instead of the deep purple. When UV levels are promotional and plenty of the pigment is produced, the plant keeps its purple hue.

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