The Q&A Archives: Rainbow Drooping Leucothoe

Question: I just purchased a Monrovia Rainbow Drooping Leucothoe whose leaves have taken on a coppery color with no green. I was told at the nursery that this was the fall color. Can this be true? In your description of this plant, on line, it states that the color is green in every season. The plant appears to be healthy otherwise. Are there variations in the color for fall in the colder zones? I am in zone 5, upstate New York. Will the leaves turn back to green in the spring? I would really appreciate a reply. Thank you!

Answer: This plant is considered an evergreen, this simply means it holds its foliage year round. The cultivar Rainbow usually has a color variation in the foliage rather than plain green, hence the name. The new growth on Leucothoes tends to be coppery, on Rainbow it usually shows a mottling of pink or white also. Some varieties of Leucothoe naturally turn purplish in the fall. But I would not call it brown. There are some disease problems that could cause it to discolor, and poor rooting or lack of moisture could also cause foliage browning. Colors are difficult to describe long distance. If you are concerned, I would suggest you consult with your county extension and make sure what you are seeing is normal.

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