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

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 and 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 as well. 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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How do you care for a purple diamond loropetalum?

Overgrown loropetalums may be cut back after blooming to reduce size. While plants tolerate heavy pruning, it is best to remove only one-quarter to one-third of the plant at a time. Use thinning cuts to maintain a strong form. Loropetalums regrow quickly.

Also, how do you keep loropetalum purple? Lack of nutrients If your Loropetalum is experiencing some kind of stress to where it hasn't been growing actively, consider applying an organic all-purpose fertilizer to stimulate a gentle flush of new growth all over the shrub. The new growth will be a more vivid shade of purple than the older leaves.

Hereof, how fast does Purple Diamond Loropetalum grow?

Grows up to 4-5 ft. tall and wide (120-150 cm). A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in humus-rich, fertile, moist, well-drained soils.


Hardiness 7 – 9 What's My Zone?
Height 4' – 5' (120cm – 150cm)
Spread 4' – 5' (120cm – 150cm)
Spacing 48" – 60" (120cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Average

What is the best fertilizer for loropetalum?

Fertilize Loropetalum in after they bloom in late winter or early spring with a slow-release shrub & tree food, preferably one that contains Sulfur and/or Iron. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural organic plant food. A second application can be done in mid to late summer.

Mature Height/Spread/Form

Loropetalum chinense is an evergreen shrub that generally grows to a height of 10 to 15 feet with a similar to somewhat smaller width. However, it is capable of greater height as evidenced by the 100-year-old specimens in Aiken that are 35 feet tall. It has a loose, slightly open habit and a roughly rounded to vase-shaped form with a medium-fine texture. The simple, finely toothed to entire (smooth-edged) leaves are 1- to 2½-inches long and arranged alternately on somewhat arching branches. The white to off-white or pink flowers are about one-inch long with petals that are 1/16 th -inch wide. Generally, 3 to 6 blooms are clustered at the tips of shoots as well as in leaf axils.

Comments (11)


The shrub forum's pretty active, and the people there seem to really know their stuff - just like the perennials forum participants. I'll put money down that if you post there, you'll get some responses right away. Anyway, since you asked here .

I don't grow loropetalum, as it's not hardy here (yet!) but I've read that it likes afternoon shade. Some shade might help it hold the color longer into the season.

But, lots of purple-leaved plants lose their great, early foliage color as summer progresses. I have the same problem with cotinus, purple smokebush - it's still attractive, but not the gorgeous early color.

You might want to check the plants at your local nursery in late summer instead of spring, to see if they're holding the color you like, because it's possible that some cultivars are better in this way than others.

Characteristics of Loropetalum Shrubs

Chinese loropetalum, the official name of the plant, is an evergreen, multi-stemmed shrub of the broadleaf variety that's part of witch hazel family. You can see the similarity of the flower to that of the namesake shrub of this family, witch hazel shrub, which also bears a fringe-like bloom.

Bloom time is March or April, depending on where you garden, and this evergreen shrub bears clusters of subtly fragrant flowers in spring. In many cultivars, the foliage is green and flowers are white or off-white. Other varieties, though, have reddish or pink flowers and purple foliage that make this bush popular in landscaping.

The plant has a spreading form and, under ideal conditions, may attain a height of 12 feet with a width that is about the same or sometimes less.

The Spruce / K. Dave

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The Spruce / K. Dave

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Planting and Care

Loropetalum is generally free of pests and diseases and will grow best in full sun, but can also be grown in partial shade. You can add loropetalum to your landscape at any time of the year. This eye-catching shrub prefers acidic and well-drained soils, as alkaline or wet conditions can cause problems for these plants.

The loropetalum cultivar 'Ruby' seems to be particularly susceptible to decline—likely caused by nutrient deficiencies—and has not done well in many areas in Florida. Other cultivars, such as 'Burgundy', 'Plum Delight™', 'Pizzazz™' and 'Sizzlin' Pink' have had a fewer reports of decline issues.

With a vase-shaped growth habit and lovely, spreading canopy, loropetalum can grow 6 to 15 feet tall. You can keep it more compact with regular pruning in home gardens, loropetalum is often kept to a much smaller, rounded canopy of 5 to 6 feet.

For more information on loropetalum and other landscape plants, contact your local county Extension office.

Watch the video: How to take care of your Loropetalum


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