Chinese fringe flower
ONE of the prettiest ornamental plants, with absolutely glorious flowers in spring, is the Chinese fringe flower, botanically known as Loropetalum chinense.
A native of China and Japan, this evergreen shrub or small tree has horizontal growing branches and features clusters of scented flowers with slender tassled petals in either white or pink.
The white form varies from cream-white to pale yellow and has green leaves, while the pink flowering varieties vary from rose pink, through to plum and deep burgundy, with leaves varying in colour from bronze-red to olive green or burgundy.
But the coloured foliage tends to fade during the summer months.
There are numerous forms of the plant, ‘ Purple Pixie’ is a dwarf form growing 30-50 cm tall and 1.2-1.5 m wide, with rich purple foliage and pink flowers in spring.
Small varieties grow around 1.5 m tall while the taller varieties can reach over three metres in height.
Chinese fringe flowers have their main flush of flowers in spring but some have sporadic flowering in summer and autumn as well.
‘Plum Gorgeous ‘ is a variety bred in Australia and has a more compact growing habit, rounded shape and retains its deep plum coloured foliage year round.
In autumn and spring, and even into the summer months, ‘Plum Gorgeous’ has bright displays of vibrant raspberry coloured flowers.
Chinese fringe flowers are low maintenance and easy to grow.
They flower best in full sun to part shade and grow in most soil types with added organic matter and good drainage. Once established they are fairly drought tolerant. Mulch the root zone during the warmer months to help retain moisture and reduce weeds.
Pruning is generally not required, but they can be given a light trim after flowering to keep them compact. Feed with a slow release fertiliser early spring. Chinese fringe flowers are ideal for small gardens, patios, containers and courtyards.
They can be mass planted to create informal hedges, or garden edging.
Larger forms make great specimen features and add an oriental feel to the garden.