Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense) is a versatile and attractive evergreen shrub. It grows fast and can be used in many different ways in the landscape. The species plant offers deep green leaves and a mass of white flowers, but cultivars vastly expand the color choices. You can find loropetalum with foliage and flowers in eye-popping shades. Loropetalum grows fast, often ending up as wide or wider as it is tall. This vibrant plant, also called Chinese witch hazel or Chinese fringe plant, thrives without pruning. However, if this shrub outgrows the space you have allotted for it in the garden, you may start asking how to prune a loropetalum. Pruning this plant is easy. Read on for tips on pruning a loropetalum.
Loropetalum Pruning Tips
Loropetalum plants generally range from 10 to 15 feet (3-4.6 m.) high, with a similar width, but they can get much taller. Specimens have reached 35 feet (10.7 m.) tall over 100 years. If you want to keep your loropetalum a specific size, you’ll need to trim back the plant. Severe loropetalum pruning should only be done when absolutely required since it detracts from the plant’s natural shape. On the other hand, as long as your loropetalum pruning occurs at the right time, you can hardly go wrong. For top results, pick the best time for trimming loropetalums. Pruned during the appropriate season, the evergreen shrubs tolerate severe pruning and grow rapidly, so any loropetalum pruning errors are quickly forgotten.
Best Time for Trimming Loropetalums
According to experts, it is best to delay pruning a loropetalum until spring, after it has bloomed. Since loropetalum sets its buds in summer, autumn pruning reduces the next season’s flowers.
How to Prune a Loropetalum
How to prune a loropetalum depends on how much you want to cut it back. If you want to reduce size by a few inches (7.5 cm.), cut individual stems with a pruner. This will help maintain the natural, vase-shape of the bush. On the other hand, if you want to dramatically reduce plant size, feel free to chop off as much as you like. This is one shrub that accepts almost any pruning. Pruning a loropetalum can even be done with shears. If you are pruning overgrown loropetalum, you might prune it back two times during the year, reducing it each time by about 25 percent.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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