The secret to an easy-care but interesting garden, is to use mostly simple, easy, plants, with evergreens and bushes that need no particular attention. Then add a few superb highlights, that will stand out and make your garden really special. These plants don’t have to be hard to care for, but they do need to be very eye-catching and unique. If you live in zones 7 to 10, then we really do have a very special plant that is perfect for a stand-out feature, and yet is easy to grow and needs nothing special. It is the Ever Red Loropetalum, or Fringe Flower, a superb ornamental shrub with unique red flowers, and season-long bright red foliage you simply won’t believe. A plant in bloom is literally stunning, and the colorful foliage keeps it bright and interesting all year round.
The Ever Red Loropetalum is an evergreen shrub that grows in time to 5 or 6 feet tall, and about the same spread. It has attractive smooth red-brown bark on the branches, which have an elegant twisted look, while older stems have more rugged, peeling bark. The leaves are roundish ovals, 1 to 2½ inches long, and almost as wide. They are colored a bright burgundy, in a very rich and striking tone, and they hold this color all through summer, in contrast to some superficially-similar forms of this tree, which have red leaves in spring, but turn greenish in summer, making them much less effective in your garden.
Growing Ever Red Loropetalum
In late winter or spring the Ever Red Loropetalum blooms profusely, and the unique blossoms are carried in clusters at the ends of the branches and in the junctions between stem and leaf. Each flower has four narrow petals, but the flowers are so densely-clustered the effect if fluffy, or spider-like, and the blooms really stand out, although each one is only an inch long. The petals of this variety are pure bright red, lighter and brighter than the leaves, but a perfect color complement. A plant in bloom will take your breath away. The flowering season is a full month long, so it is a very worthwhile period.
Because it is so easy to grow, you can plant the Ever Red Loropetalum almost anywhere in your garden. It looks effective among dark-green evergreens around your home, and just as effective in a woodland area beneath trees, with camellias and azaleas. It fits perfectly into an Asian garden, but also into a more formal, clipped one. It can even be planted in large planters or boxes, where it will thrive for years.
The Ever Red Loropetalum is remarkably adaptable and easy to grow shrub. It is hardy in zones 7 to 9, and in zone 10 in southern California – it does not enjoy the humidity of southern Florida. It grows just as well in shade as in full sun, and even in deeper shade, although there the leaves will not be so richly colored. Some afternoon shade is appreciated, especially in zones 9 and 10. Once it has had a year to become established it is also very drought-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about care – just let it take care of itself. The ideal soil is moist, rich and well-drained, but again, this adaptable plant will grow in ordinary garden conditions perfectly. It has no pests or diseases, and it doesn’t need pruning, although, equally, it responds well to pruning, developing a denser, bushy habit if you want it to.
History and Origins of Ever Red Loropetalum
The Ever Red Loropetalum is a special form of the Chinese fringe flower, Loropetalum chinense. It grows naturally in open woodlands in China, Japan, and other parts of south-east Asia. Wild plants can be up to 10 feet tall and across. There are two distinct forms of this plant. One has white to pale-yellow flowers, and normal green leaves. The other, called ‘variety rubrum’, has pink flowers and reddish leaves. There are several garden varieties of both forms, but it is the ones with red leaves that attract the most attention. The plant breeder and collector Mark Griffin is an associate of the famous tree and shrub expert Dr. Michael A. Dirr. Together they developed a company called Plant Introductions to breed or find new plants for American gardens. Mark Griffith found a remarkable form of red loropetalum in China, called ‘Chang Nian Hong’. When he brought it to America is was re-named and trademarked Ever Red®. It has been released to gardeners by Gardeners Confidence, a company marketing plants from numerous independent breeders and collectors. It is part of their Glowing Horizons® Loropetalum series, which features other new Loropetalum varieties.
These red-leaf Loropetalum varieties are incredibly popular, and experts all agree that the variety Ever Red® is definitely the most durable, with bright foliage that holds its color better than any other form. This plant is very popular with our clients, and our beautiful stock will soon go (we will miss them. . .), so order now while we can still fulfil your order.