If you are thinking of adding some foundation plants but don't want just greenery, look no further for a wonderful alternative!

The Loropetalum plant has a beautiful burgundy leaf which blooms primarily in the spring with several different types from red to dark pink to pink. This large shrub is a native of China and Japan but seems to do well here in our southern climate. It is part of the chinese witch hazel family and is more commonly known as the chinese fringe flower (not to be confused with the tree variety). For those that would still like greenery, there is a green leaf variety that has a white bloom.

Upon first seeing this shrub, do not be fooled by its height of 3 feet or so. At maturity some varieties can be as large as 12 ft with the average around 8 ft. and widths up to 6-8 ft., depending on growing conditions. It is important to check the grower's label for the mature size and plant accordingly. They can grow as much as 3 ft within a growing season and fill out quickly. There are the large loropetalum, semi-dwarf around 4 ft, petite around 1-2 ft and a weeping variety which trails.

They prefer loose, well-drained soil on the acidic side. Full sun to partial shade is needed to maintain a full shape and to keep blooming. Some of the burgundy varieties need higher fertilization and lots of sun to keep their dark foliage. They are cold hardy for our area and take temperatures down to ten degrees or so.