Pruning My Loropetalum Standard

I love to prune!  So, if you scroll all the way to the end of this post, you’ll find a video of me in action.  And I’m not talking about getting out the electric clippers and buzzing and hacking the heck out of a hedge – no.   To me, pruning a plant is an art form.  I waited a year and a half to find a Loropetalum Standard with burgandy foliage to compliment the trim on my house.  So when I dropped in on one of our local nurseries  that happened to be getting an order in from Monrovia that week it was bingo … perhaps my plant is on the horizon!  I did not want “Razzleberry” and was delighted to find out they had Loropetalum”Sizzling Pink” in a tree form in stock and ready to ship.

Here’s the plant as I bought it on September 27, 2010

Pruning Loropetalum Standard

Here’s how the plant looks today on February 10, 2012

Pruning Loropetalum Standard

I took these pictures so you can see how densely this plant grows if not thinned out

Pruning Loropetalum Standard

Pruning Loropetalum Standard

This is the foliage color I wanted

Pruning Loropetalum Standard


Pruning to me is second nature – I look at a plant and see what I want to do.  Lucy, who was shooting the video, had a few questions so I thought I’d answer them here for you too.

*Where do you start on a plant like this?  I start by selectively thinning out smaller branches which then leads me to prune out larger branches.  I’m basically trying to “de-blob” and open up the plant as a first step.

*Why such a small cut?   I’m  at the stage now where just the ends get tipped to encourage more upward growth – I want the plant to get taller not wider.  Besides, it’s better to start with small cuts so you don’t have “pruner’s remorse”!

*Do you always prune the branches at an angle?   Generally (but not always), yes.  I prune the ends of this plant at an angle so it points the new growth in the direction I want it to go.

Watch the video below to see my dark-leafed plant on its way to graceful and beautiful form – just like an lacy umbrella!


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  1. I, too, just recently saw this at my local nursery. I cannot seem to find out exactly how tall it is going to be, and for that reason I haven’t bought it. I don’t want to put it in a pot; I want a small tree in my flower bed. I would love to know how big your tree is now (after 3 years) and what it looks like. I hesitate to buy it simply because I don’t want it to wind up being too small – I want a small tree as a centerpiece in my flower bed – up to 10′ tall would be great. Thanks for any help.

  2. Hi Debbie – Loropetalums aren’t grafted, they’re just basically a shrub turned into a tree. So, if the variety gets 7′, then the standard (tree) should stay around 7′ tall. I easily keep my Loropetalum “Sizzling Pink” just under 6′ with 2 good prunings a year. Mine tends to spread & get denser now than taller. That being said, I live in California which is dry. If you live someplace with more rain & humidity like the South, then it will probably get bigger. I’ve heard of older specimen Loropetalum chinensis’ reaching 15′ tall & wide. Just pay attention to how large the variety gets & you should be fine. Hope that helps! Nell

  3. Hi, I have had a Loropetalum planted in my front yard for about 6 years. It has reached 2 1/2 metres and receives a light prune each year after flowering – nearly there. People frequently comment on it or will point it out when driving past. I love it.

  4. Hi Beverly – Thank you for the comment. I love Loropetalums & think they’re so underused. Plus, they always get ohhs & ahhs when in flower! Nell

  5. Hi Nell, I just planted a loropetalum standard. Can you post an updated picture of your loropetalum. I just want to see what I have to look forward to for years to come.

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