Fringeflower Arrives with a Bang

Chinese fringeflowers (Loropetalum species) hit town 10 or 12 years ago. Their showy foliage and unusual and colorful flowers brought them almost instant notoriety. Now with dozens of varieties from which to choose, choose them we do. They’ve become some of our best-selling nursery plants, and breeders are striving for still greater variety and performance.

Fringeflowers are native to the Far East. However, they’re equally suited to Texas’ conditions, provided a couple of conditions are met. First, they require acidic soils. Like azaleas, fringeflowers will develop serious iron deficiency symptoms within a few years if they’re planted directly into alkaline soils. That probably means that you’ll be adding generous amounts of organic matter to their beds prior to planting.

The plants will also do better in morning sun, with shade during the afternoon in the summer. Keep them moist, and fertilize them after their showy late winter and early spring bloom with a high-N or all-N plant food.

Ask your nurseryman how tall the various varieties will grow. You’ll find types ranging in mature size from 2 to 8 feet and taller. Choose one that matches the space you have available.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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