Razzleberri — notable Chinese fringe flower

Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense 'Razzleberri')

Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense ‘Razzleberri’)

Sometimes it takes a few years, or longer, to appreciate a plant.
Consider the  burgundy-leafed Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense ‘Razzleberri’). This shrub has probably been in the trade about 20 years, and I have always marveled at its beauty in catalogs and in nurseries. I have planted it from Hollywood to Granada Hills. The only problem is that I have never had any luck growing it to maturity and, until now, had never seen a healthy fringe flower truly thrive in anyone’s garden.
Well, lo and behold, just when I had given up all hope of encountering an exemplary example of a full-grown fringe flower, I stumbled upon an absolutely stunning specimen just the other day. It was a huge, glorious globe more than 5 feet tall and so completely covered with pink tassel flowers that you could barely see its leaves.
Almost at once, I understood the reason for my failures with this plant. Paying strict attention to the recommendation that it be protected from hot summer sun, I had given the fringe flower too little light; being conscious of its roots’ need for fast drainage, I had planted it in sandy or significantly amended soil. It turns out that the fringe flower needs more sun and more soil moisture than I thought.
In the Studio City location that it enjoys, the flourishing fringe flower is planted on the front edge of a front lawn where it enjoys more than half of the day’s sun. Over the years, it has obviously benefited from constant moisture on account of the lawn and, I am sure, it has also reaped the rewards of the exceptionally wet winter just ended.
Although advertised for its burgundy foliage, the Loropetalum chinense cultivars actually have some leaves that are green and some that are burgundy.  Burgundy- to bronze-leafed foliage plants also include the hopseed bush (Dodonaea viscosa), a highly drought-tolerant hedge plant with a susceptibility to soil fungus, Eugenia or brush cherry (Syzygium paniculatum), whose leaves are flawed, from time to time, by puckering administered by a psyllid insect, as well as the every popular, mop-headed Cordyline australis ‘Atropurpureum,’ and the ubiquitous giant bronze cultivars of New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax).

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