The Q&A Archives: Loropetalum losing leaves

Question: We planted a 5 gallon loropetalum chineuse in spring of this year. We put it in a ~7 gallon container as a patio tree. It has flowered consistenly but now for the last couple of months has begun to lose it leaves and become quite leggy and sparse on leaves. It still has some flowers but the leaves just keep falling off. I know it is an evergreen so that means something is wrong I assume. I also know they respond well to pruning but if I prune half the growth it will be just sticks. Is this safe for the tree? Could the tree be root bound in the planter? is it too much watering, too little? We love the tree and it wasn't cheap! :)


Answer: There may or may not be anything wrong with your Loropetalum. Broadleaf evergreens eventually lose their oldest leaves - those lower down on the plant and towards the center. This is perfectly natural and will result in a leggy looking shrub. This is the right time of year for those older leaves to drop. In the spring, when new growth begins, you can prune the plant down by one-third. It will respond by sending out healthy new stems and leaves (and flowers).

On the other hand, if the plant is losing leaves from the bottom and they first yellow out and then drop, you may be overwatering. Water less frequently, but be sure to water thoroughly each time you do water.

Best wishes with your Loropetalum!

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