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Growing Loropetalum In Pots

Author Keri Byrum 6-21-2020

Loropetalum, also called Chinese Witch Hazel, are easy to grow in pots and will add an easy-care element to your landscape. Their colorful foliage looks great all year and their delicate flowers in the spring months are an added bonus.

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For southern climates, USDA zones 7-10, loropetalum will provide an interesting potted plant throughout the entire year. In cooler climates this plant will work as an annual or can be brought in for the winter months.

Loropetalum are slow growing which makes them well suited to growing in pots. Look for a place where your loropetalum receives sun most of the day and it will thrive.

Planting Loropetalum in Pots

In southern zones (7-10) loropetalum can be planted any time of year. For cooler northern climates it is best to wait until cold temperatures are finished and frosts are less frequent. If you keep your loropetalum indoors over the winter you will want to slowly acclimate it to the outside by bringing it out for a few hours at a time.

Loropetalum will develop their best color when they get full sun with partial shade. 4-6 hours of shade per day will be the maximum to keep these plants looking their best.

Select a pot that is 6-8” larger than the diameter of the current container. This will allow your loropetalum to grow for two to three years before needing a new pot and require less maintenance.

Make sure that your container has at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Pots without holes will become water-logged and the roots of the plants will drown without oxygen. If you notice standing water in the pot, check to make sure that the drainage hole hasn’t become clogged. This simple fix will save your beautiful plant!

Best Soil for Loropetalum in Pots

Loropetalum are not picky about soil, although a quality potting soil will help ensure your Loropetalum looks its best. These plants prefer moist, well-draining soil so most potting soils will work just fine.

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Caring for Loropetalum in Planters

What will your loropetalum need to keep looking its best? Very little!  These easy care plants are slow growing so very little pruning or upkeep is needed. If you notice the plant getting too large it is fine to prune branches back to decrease the size. 

Watering Loropetalum in Pots

Loropetalum in pots should be watered regularly to keep soil moist. For most situations, this will mean once to twice per week. Plants will do best when they are watered deeply; look for water to come out the drainage holes of your pot to indicate that all of the soil is wet. This will encourage your loropetalum to develop a deep root system and become less dependent on frequent watering.

If your pot is in an area where it will receive rain this will be an additional way to water your loropetalum. During periods of drought expect to water more often. High winds are also important to monitor as they will dry out plants quickly and require more frequent watering.

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Fertilizing Loropetalum in Pots

Feeding your loropetalum with a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow or slow release fertilizer like Osmocote will help your plant stay healthy. Simply follow the recommended rates on the product of your choosing and apply at the base of the plant in the pot. Loropetalum are fairly slow-growing so fertilizing once a year, preferably in the spring, should be sufficient. 

Winter Care For Loropetalum in Pots

For those gardeners in the hardiness zones 7-10, very little care will be needed for your loropetalum during the winter months. These plants will continue to grow, although very slowly, and add interest for the winter season.

If you are in a cooler climate zone you will want to take extra care. Move your pot to an indoor space where the plant will not freeze. You will want to reduce the amount of water to the plant. Although it should not dry out completely, soggy soil will greatly hurt your plant.

Alternatively, if you are in a climate where loropetalum is not hardy, you may consider using this plant as an annual. If you have limited space, or even if you just like to try new plants each year, you can pull the shrub from its container in fall and add it to your compost.

Can Loropetalum Be Grown Indoors

Loropetalum are rarely seen as a houseplant because of their need for sunlight. If you decide to bring your plant indoors, place it in a sunny, southern or western facing window. Monitor your loropetalum health; stretched out branches and purple leaves turning green are indicators that the plant is not getting enough sunlight. 

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