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Ruby Loropetalum

Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Ruby'

How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me

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The Ruby Loropetalum is an evergreen, rounded bush that is 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. It puts on a brilliant spring display of bright pink flowers set against rich red leaves. The small rounded leaves turn dark hunter green in summer, and then back to bright red for fall and winter – changing tones that bring the garden to life as the seasons change. This is an excellent shrub for beds, woodland areas, or for foundation planting, and ideal for tubs and planter boxes. It looks great as a low screen or hedge.

  • Compact shrub 3 to 5 feet tall and wide
  • Unique spring flowers in vibrant, glowing pink
  • Leaves are rich red in spring and early summer
  • Change from summer dark green to fall and winter red
  • Vigorous and easy to grow

The Ruby Loropetalum grows well in all the warmest zones, from zone 7 to 10. It thrives in sun or partial shade and tolerates light full-shade too. A rich, moist, well-drained soil is ideal, but this easy shrub grows well in all ordinary garden soils. Avoid wet ground and strongly alkaline soils. Established plants have good drought tolerance. Usually free of pests or diseases, it normally isn’t bothered by deer. You can trim after flowering if you wish, but its compact, bushy form makes this non-essential.

Plant Hardiness Zones 7-10
Mature Width 3-5
Mature Height 3-5
Soil Conditions Well-Drained Soil
Sunlight Full Sun to Partial Shade
Drought Tolerance Good Drought Tolerance
Zones 7-10

In gardens today we no longer rely on flowers alone for color. Brightly colored leaves and ornamental foliage is the way to go – after all, who wouldn’t trade 6 months of colored leaves for a week or two of blooms? Of course, in a perfect world it would be great to have both – but that would be asking too much, right? Well, wrong, because with the Ruby Loropetalum that is exactly what you get. Brilliant red-pink blooms in spring, set against a background of evergreen leaves that are red in spring, becomes dark hunter green in summer, and then bright fall red through fall and into the winter. Its compact form won’t overgrow your beds, and this shrub is perfect for smaller gardens, and for the front or middle of larger beds. It also makes a stunning low hedge, and a great container plant.

Growing Ruby Loropetalum

Size and Appearance

The Ruby Loropetalum grows into a compact bush, between 3 and 5 feet tall and wide, with a rounded form. It is densely branched right to the ground, and stays that way, never becoming tree-like or spreading wide. The small leaves are about one inch long, and rounded ovals, with a slightly undulating edge. They are covered in short, soft hairs, a bit like evergreen azaleas. In spring the new leaves are bright ruby red, slowly darkening into the summer to become dark green, highlighted by the continuing red leaves of developing shoots. In fall the leaves often turn bright red, holding that color well into the winter months, before turning ruby red again in spring. The changing leaf colors create a very interesting color progression through the seasons and are surely more interesting than varieties that are simply the same color all year round.

Between February and March, depending on where you garden, this shrub will flower profusely. Some flowers continue to be produced over summer and right up to the first frost, but the main spring blooming, set against the red new leaves, is the show-stopper. The flowers are small, but many grow all over the bush, on short stems carrying 6 to 10 blooms. Each flower has four narrow, slightly twisted strap-shaped petals, in the most stunning and vibrant pink color that you have ever seen. A bush in bloom shines out across the garden as no other plant will – no wonder these bushes have become so popular.

Using Ruby Loropetalum in Your Garden

This plant is perfectly sized for any garden. In small gardens it is an excellent focal plant and specimen. In larger gardens it can be grown with other shrubs in beds, in the front or middle areas. Grow it as a single accent, or in groups of 3 or 5, spaced 3 feet apart, or wider apart with ground-cover between them. This plant looks great contrasted with silver, blue or light yellow. It can also be grown as an edging along a pathway, or as a low hedge, trimmed or natural.

Hardiness

You can grow the Ruby Loropetalum in any of the warmer parts of the country, from zone 7 into zone 10. Some loss of leaves in zone 7 is normal, but the plant soon fills out again in spring, and blooms normally.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Ruby Loropetalum will grow in full sun or partial shade, and even in light full shade. The best foliage colors will be seen in the sun, although in the hottest areas some afternoon shade is beneficial. The ideal soil is moist, rich and well-drained, but ordinary garden soil is fine too. Avoid wet soil and alkaline soils. Add organic material when planting, and as mulch each spring. Water regularly, but established plants are also very drought resistant when they need to be.

Maintenance and Pruning

No significant care is needed for this great shrub. It normally has no pests or diseases and it is usually left alone by deer. Some spring fertilizer is helpful but not essential, and if you do want to trim, do it in late spring, after blooming, and through the summer if necessary.

History and Origin of Ruby Loropetalum

It was in the 1930s that the first plants of the Chinese fringe flower, Loropetalum chinense, arrived in America, but they didn’t attract much interest from many people because the leaves were green and the flowers whitish-yellow, and the plant had no particular beauty. It was only in the last decades of the last century that the rare form called ‘variety rubrum’ arrived from China. There it had been grown for a long time. With its bright red spring leaves and pink flowers, it immediately caught the attention of enthusiastic gardeners. Those early varieties were about 10 feet tall, and the variety called ‘Ruby’ was one of the first, and still one of the best, of the more compact forms. We don’t know where it came from, but it was probably being grown in America before 1990 – and it’s still going strong.

Buying Ruby Loropetalum at The Tree Center

Sometimes it is best to grow’ tried and true’ varieties, and that is certainly true of the Ruby Loropetalum. The changing leaf colors are a fascinating feature that keeps your landscape active and vibrant. Order now, because this well-established variety is only available in small quantities, and they sell out very quickly.

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Ruby Loropetalum

Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum 'Ruby'