Garden Plant of the Month for October: Leucothoe26 September 2016
The fantastic foliage shrub Leucothoe is a beauty in the garden, on the patio or balcony. The garden plant of the month for October certainly makes an impact with its eye-catching appearance!
Pictures: Flower Counsil Holland
Beautifully coloured leaves bring life to the garden - particularly in autumn and winter - and shines both on its own and when combined with plants such as Skimmia, ling heather or checkerberry.
Fabulous leaf colouring
Leucothoe is a compact evergreen shrub which makes an impact with the beautiful colour of its leaves. The plant blooms in May with small white flowers, but surprisingly that's not really its best feature. In early spring the young leaves are fresh green, purple or bright red and as the growing season progresses, they change colour from bronze to dramatic red, allowing them to combine beautifully with other plants in the garden. The range of Leucothoes is wide: there are multicoloured variegated species with decorative foliage, varieties with red leaves and plants with curled-up leaves.
Caring for Leucothoe
Follow a couple of simple tips to keep your Leucothoe healthy and attractive. A position in shade or partial shade is important - this garden plant really isn't a sun worshipper. The plant requires humus-rich, acidic, damp soil and cannot tolerate drought at all so water the plants regularly and ensure that the soil never dries out.
Give extra food in spring so that the plant remains healthy and strong and use special fertiliser for heathers (Ericaceae) to keep the soil sufficiently acidic. A layer of bark around the plant also helps to maintain that acidity and prevents the plant from drying out. Leucothoe is moderately hardy but might need a little protection in the winter, particularly against raw East winds and in periods when both frosting and thawing occurs regularly.
Leucothoe pruning tips
Generally speaking, Leucothoe plants do not grow particularly large - up to a maximum of 1x1 metre - and therefore pruning is only necessary in order to refresh the plant or remove parts that have become unsightly. It's best to prune after flowering in late spring. Pruning too early in the winter can cause the branches to suffer frost damage.
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- 26 September 2016
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