Crimson Fire™ LoropetalumLoropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'PIILC-I' (PP# 25,534)
View more from Loropetalum
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Probiotic Root Stimulant
Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'PIILC-I' (PP# 25,534)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Crimson Fire™ Loropetalum is without doubt the best of the dwarf red-leaf flowering shrubs. It has a broad, compact form rising to just 3 or 4 feet tall but packing a giant color punch. The bright red leaves hold their color through summer and winter, and the vibrant pink flowers in spring are an amazing ‘bonus’. It’s a great choice for smaller gardens, for tucking into existing beds, or in planters, and it fits everywhere, from formal to woodland.
Grow the Crimson Fire™ Loropetalum in light conditions from full sun to light full shade. This variety is especially reliable in zone 7, as well as growing in every warmer zone. It is adaptable to all well-drained soils, growing best in moist, rich soil, but showing remarkable adaptability. This easy-to-grow plant has no pests or diseases and it needs no trimming to stay compact and bushy.
Today almost everyone is familiar with the amazing evergreen bushes called Loropetalum. Their stunning red foliage and brilliant exotic flowers have won the hearts of gardeners, and they have found a place in many gardens. At the Tree Center we always have a range of the very best varieties to choose from, but the Crimson Fire™ Loropetalum is unique. Why? Because it is dwarf, growing just 3 or 4 feet tall, so it fits perfectly into today’s small gardens, and also into planters and pots. It grows well, always staying neat, without sending out those annoying long shoots that have to be trimmed. The spring blooms are especially vibrant, bringing a real color punch to your garden. It holds its brilliant red foliage color all year round too, without fading over summer the way older varieties. Plus, it shows exceptional winter hardiness in cooler zones – a big plus if you garden in zone 7.
The Crimson Fire Loropetalum is a compact shrub, growing no more than 4 feet tall, with a similar spread. Young bark is smooth and reddish, and on older stems it begins to shed in attractive flakes, giving a rugged look to older plants. It has a rounded, bushy form, and it is evergreen. The leaves don’t look like the typical leathery, glossy leaves of evergreens, instead they are small, oval and with a matte surface, covered in very fine hairs. They are 1¼ inches long, and deep red, maturing to a rich reddish-purple, with paler purple undersides. This variety holds its color through summer and fall, then turning to a dark burgundy in winter, before that strong spring-red bounces back.
Flowering begins in April in most areas, with a big spring flush, followed by smaller quantities through summer and right up to the first frost. The flowers are carried in clusters on short stems, all over the bush, and they are small but make a big bang. Only an inch long, they have 4 narrow petals, but the vibrant color – rich bright pink – sets the bush alight. For brilliance and impact there are few in any shrubs that match it, and its easy to see why these relatively-new shrubs have become so popular.
This stunning compact shrub is perfect to bring color to beds, even in smaller gardens, where other Loropetalum grow too large. Plant it among other shrubs, as a highlight, or against a backdrop of evergreens. Grow it as a stand-alone specimen in a courtyard or gravel area, including Zen and other Asian styles. Grow it as a transition from garden to woodland, since it grows well in shade. It is also a great container shrub in warmer zones – for planter boxes on terraces and even balconies.
The Crimson Fire Loropetalum grows easily in zones 7 to 10. It is often not recommended for hot humid areas, but we have had reports of it growing well in southern Florida, and it grows well in the north-west too. In zone 7 some Loropetalum can suffer winter damage to foliage and branches, but Crimson Fire is much more cold resistant, and an excellent choice for colder zones.
Remarkably adaptable to light conditions, this plant thrives in full sun or partial shade. In drier soils in hot zones some afternoon shade is beneficial. It will also grow in full shade, although if it is too dark the leaves will not be as vibrant, and flowering may be reduced. It prefers moist, well-drained rich soils, but it is incredibly accepting of almost all garden soils, except for very wet ones. Once established it has good drought resistance too.
Free of pests or diseases, the Crimson Fire Loropetalum needs very little attention. It doesn’t need pruning, but you can prune after blooming to keep it neater and more compact. Some Loropetalum have the habit of sending out long thin stems, but not this one, so trimming becomes even less important.
The Chinese fringe flower, Loropetalum chinense, grows naturally in woodlands all across China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Plants are typically shrubs about 10 feet tall, and they have green leaves and white flowers. It has been grown in America since the 1930s, without attracting much attention. However, there is a rare form called ‘variety rubrum’, which has reddish leaves in spring and pink flowers. The plant breeder and nurseryman Mark Griffin is responsible for some of the earliest forms seen in America, and in 2006 he patented a smaller bush called Little Rose Dawn (`GriffCRL`), derived from an earlier variety called ‘Ruby’. Little Rose Dawn has greenish leaves in summer, but it was only about 6 feet tall. Griffin was associated with Plant Introductions, an innovative company headed by the plant expert Dr. Michael A. Dirr, and in 2008 another member of Dirr’s team, Joshua Kardos, sowed some seed he had collected from a plant of Little Rose Dawn. Among the seedlings was one that had durable red foliage all summer, combined with a dense, vigorous growth pattern and compact size. In 2015 he patented it with the name `PIILC-I`. It is released to gardeners by First Editions with the trademark name of Crimson Fire™.
This is certainly the best of the smaller Loropetalum, and Crimson Fire really does set even the smallest garden ablaze. The persistence of the red foliage over summer is remarkable, so it’s no wonder the demand for this beauty is so great. Order now – even if you already have another Loropetalum, this one is totally worthwhile, but do it now, as our supply is limited and they will all soon be gone.