The Q&A Archives: Loropetalum Problems!!

Question: I planted about 17 3-gallon Suzanne Fringe Flowers in June of this year. I have lost all of them. My soil is heavy clay that I tilled in BTE compost to lighten it up some. Water does drain slowly in the area where I planted these plants. After planting, the leaves started turning brown on the edge. I think I was overwatering, but not sure. My question is this.....should I try again?? June might have been a tough time to start this plant. But my clay soils and less than perfect drainage might make this a tough situation for the loropetalum. I've also read that they like an acidic soil....probably not what I have!! Any thoughts or recommendations for an alternative plant?? This plant was to be up next to my house which is an Austin Stone house.

Answer: Mike,

June is a tough time to start any shrub. The brown edge leaves may be due to drought, root injury in planting, root burn from putting fertilizer in the planting hole or other such root related issues. Loropetalum is not fond of a high pH clay soil like is common in your area. I suggest working more organic matter into the planting bed. Add 4" of peat moss rototilled in deeply in a fairly wide (6' or more) area. If you can't get peat moss try composted bark or a similar composted organic material. Mounding up the planting bed slightly (about 6 inches or so) will facilitate drainage and help the plants to thrive. After planting keep the soil around the roots moist but not soggy wet. Fall through early spring is the best time to plant shrubs.

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