Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chinese Witch Hazel (Loropetalum)

I have threatened to cut this Loropetalum down and poison the roots, but looking at this now, I am having second thoughts. It certainly is beautiful this year as Chinese Witch Hazels seem to be everywhere this spring.
They do have some serious drawbacks though. For one thing, they are just a little too vigorous. They get to be trees if you do not prune on them about twice a year. And if you prune at the wrong time you will cut off next year's flowers as I have done several times. In the above picture I tried to prune this into a small tree form which would have looked nice, at least in my imagination. But the Chinese witch hazel will have none of it and sprouted out at the base as if to cover its unsightly feet..
They shrubs tend to sucker a bit and over time the base of it gets larger (and larger).So what am I to do, prune constantly or have runaway witch hazel? One day recently I saw some "miniature Chinese witch hazels" at a nursery. If they truly were miniature that would be great. I do remember when these things first became the rage. They were being planted in all sorts of tiny spaces, and BOOM! in about 3 years they were as big as a bathroom. Should we trust them again?

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