Lorapetalum 'Sizzling Pink'

Flankatten(8A)June 29, 2013

Hi! I've just acquired a pair of Lorapetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink' evergreen shrubs (aka Chinese Fringe Flower) and I've read that they can grow quite large (and fast!), so I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience growing one in a big planter/pot to try and keep it under 5' tall. I'd like to use them to shade the feet of my evergreen clematises that climb a south-facing wall and I'd rather not block out the clematises entirely! I know that fringe flower can be pruned, but I'd like to try and avoid that. I do enjoy pruning, but I'd like to allow these plants to grow into a nice, natural shape without having to shear them down every year. All advice, thoughts and opinions are welcome. Thanks!

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Pruning does not mean shearing. What you want to do is selective, or staggered, pruning. You take some branches and prune them deeper, so that the foliage of the remaining branches hide the cut. Then when the cut branch's new growth fills out to where you want the plant's edge, you trim some of the longer branches back; the previously cut branch's growth will now cover the new pruning cut.

You can choose to rotate the amount of trimming by quarters(1/4 of the total branches of the shrub), thirds or halves, depending upon the size, type and vigor of the shrub
your frequency of pruning, and the look you want to achieve. I sometimes switch from fewer trims during heavy bloom to enjoy the flowers, to heavier trims after the bloom period. Experience is the teacher. The idea is to never have the plant look pruned, but it will still be kept to the size you desire.

When I prune my garden, several bins-worth of green waste may be removed. But you won't be able to visually see where it came from. Unless you are digging into the center of my plants for some reason. ;)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Concur completely with GyrFalcon's post. Finesse is key...

And it's fun to see what you can create/manage.

Sara

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 12:07AM
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Flankatten(8A)

Well, it sounds worth a try! Too many pictures of lorapetalums cut into boxes and meatball shapes had discouraged me. I'll take your advice and see how it goes. It will take a few years for the shrub to grow that big, anyway. I did come across a fantastic picture (link below) of a 12 year old lorapetalum hedge that had been kept short and lovely, which gives me additional hope for the future of my own plants. Thanks for your helpful suggestions!

Here is a link that might be useful: How far can I cut back bush without damaging

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:01AM
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