Caring For Luculia Plants: Learn How To Grow Luculia

Light Pink Flowering Luculia Plants
(Image credit: sasimoto)

If you get a whiff of gardenias one morning in late autumn, it probably means that someone nearby is growing Luculia (Luculia spp.). Although Luculia and gardenia are in the same family of plants and share the same delicate fragrance, the timing of their blooms is different. You’ll get a whiff of the pale Luculia blossoms in September and October, with their lovely smell even more delightful since blooming shrubs are rare this time of year. Read on for more Luculia plant information including tips on how to grow Luculia.

Luculia Plant Information

Luculias are evergreen shrubs, native to the Himalayas in China, Nepal, India and Bhutan. There are five species in the genus and they all grow in the wild at altitudes of 5,000 feet (1,500 m.). However, you can try growing Luculia in any region with a mild climate. Luculia plant information suggests that British plant hunters brought the shrub to Europe in the 19th century. Today, these plants grow all over the world, right down into the tropics, but do best in area with mild climates. If you decide to start growing Luculia, you’ll have to pick one of the cultivated species. Luculia gratissima can grow to about 10 feet (3 m.) tall in organic soil topped with organic mulch. The Latin word gratissima means “very pleasing,” and the species is aptly named. It offers glorious pink flowers with a heavenly fragrance. Caring for Luculia plants of this species requires pruning back the foliage after the shrub is finished flowering to keep it from looking leggy. For better foliage and bigger flowers, try growing Luculia grandifolia. What is Luculia grandiflora? It is one of the more popular varieties of Luculia, offering large, lovely flowers. The blossoms are big and pure white, and the foliage is simply beautiful. Don’t try to grow it without protection in an area that gets frosts in winter, however.

How to Grow Luculia

When you begin growing these shrubs, you need to know how to grow Luculia and the important aspects of caring for Luculia plants. Location and irrigation are essential. It’s important to plant them in lightly acidic well-drained soil. A coarse soil high in organic matter will make them happy. Plant them once and don’t try to transplant them, as Luculias don’t like having their roots disturbed. They prefer light, filtered shade, like that offered beneath high trees and protection from winds and frost. Caring for Luculia plants includes regular summer irrigation as well. If you decide to prune these plants, remember that the flowers only grow on new wood. If you want to do severe pruning while growing Luculia, undertake it just after blooming is done.

Teo Spengler

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.