Mary Margaret Chambliss, VanChaplin
"I never knew they got so large." People say that a lot about pink Chinese fringe, especially after those beautiful little shrubs they bought at the nursery have had a few years to grow. Also known as fringe flower, this popular evergreen has pink flowers and purple leaves and is shooting up in home landscapes all across the South.
Pink Chinese fringe is sneaky. While the flower and leaf colors remain true, the compact, weeping habit of the small plant gradually disappears as it grows. What starts out as a petite, mannerly shrub turns into anything but that.
It Grows Fast
The pink Chinese fringe ( Loropetalum chinense) in the photo is only 7 years old, but it has already reached the eaves of this home. If a 1-gallon containerized plant can become a multistemmed specimen shrub in several years, you better think hard about where you place it. Remember that its adult size is comparable to that of a Japanese maple or Burford holly. In fact, Chinese fringe can be limbed up easily into a lovely tree form. Chinese fringe prefers a bit of shade along with rich soil, and it doesn't like dry conditions. But it will grow in full sun and slightly wet soil. Use it en masse as a backdrop for azaleas or as a substitute for crepe myrtles in areas with filtered sun.
Selections with pink blooms include 'Blush,' 'Burgundy,' 'Razzleberri,' 'Sizzling Pink,' 'Suzanne,' and 'Zhuzhou' (sometimes called 'Zhuzhou Fuchsia'). While their heights might vary, all become big shrubs. So when you see this cute, little plant at the nursery, don't let it fool you into thinking it'll stay that small forever.PLANTS THAT SURPRISE YOU
The following shrubs don't look like they'll grow very large when you purchase them in containers. But watch out as they mature, because they'll become the size of small trees.
This article is from the Favorites 2005 issue of Southern Living.