When to Prune Loropetalum

September 5, 2008 | By | Comments (214)

Q: Hi Grumpy Gardener,

I feel like I could describe myself this way also!!

How far back can a lorepetelum be cut/trimmed back? (I may have spelled the name of the plant incorectly-don’t hold it against me.) I bought such small plants years ago, and now they just grow so large if I don’t keep them trimmed!

Please advise about this plant!


Gardener in Georgia

A: Dear Aspiring To Be Grumpy,

Loropetalum is a fast-growing shrub that takes very well to pruning. It can even be sheared into a formal hedge or trained flat against a wall. You can cut it back as far as needed. However, now is not the time, because it sets flower buds in summer. If you trim it now, you won’t get any blooms in late winter and early spring. Wait to trim it until after it finishes blooming in spring.



  1. Kellam White

    Hi there! My loropetalum shrubs are growing crazy fast! They look healthy – just bigger than I want! When would be a prudent time to prune so that they prosper? I live in Mount Pleasant SC. Thanks much for your guidance!!!

    June 25, 2017 at 6:58 am
  2. Hope

    Grumpy is right. It’s best to transplant the Loropetalums when they’re dormant. My husband and I have transplanted several (8) mature Loropetalums during the last few years and they’ve responded well and are thriving in their new locations in our yard. We’ve always moved them in February. We’ve made a hole just a bit bigger than the root ball and added some Black Cow manure to the soil. Sometimes we’ve added a Root Starter liquid. We’ve made a point of watering every day for the first two or three weeks and then every three days after that for another month or so. I believe that watering is key because the only two Loropetalums that didn’t make it didn’t get watered daily. We transplanted those last year and we got so busy that we forgot to water them. After three weeks of sporadic watering it was obvious they were in distress and no amount of watering brought them back. Anyway, just sharing my experience. Hope it helps.

    May 22, 2017 at 10:48 pm
  3. Steve Bender

    Maybe you are moving them at the wrong times. The best time to move a large shrub is when it’s completely dormant — from fall to early spring. Moving it at other times can cause transplanting shock. The only other cause I can think of is not getting a big enough root ball when you transplant.

    May 20, 2017 at 8:25 am
  4. Ron

    I have transplanted 6 mature(4 years old) loropetelums at various times through the year and none are surviving. I live in central alabama. I have dug oversized holes, I have protected the surface roots and moved them with the plants, I have used new top soil, I have used additional plant food, I have kept them well watered but nothing seems to work. I can take a small sucker out of the ground next to them and poke a hole in the ground and stick it in and it will do great. What am I doing wrong? I have moved plants in each of the 4 seasons and nothing seems to work.

    May 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm
  5. Steve Bender

    Loropetalum is tough. You can cut it back as far as you want — to bare wood if need be — and it will leaf out quickly like nothing happened.

    May 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm
  6. Tina

    Our Loropetelum have gotten very tall (15 ft or more), we have only done minimal trimming annually in the spring but now we have some damage to our porch post from moisture over the years so it has been suggested that we take these bushes/trees down to the porch floor level. If we go down that far they will be just sticks, no greenery at all because we allowed them to get to leggy and tall. Will they come back out if I go down that far and only have sticks in front of porch till next year?

    May 9, 2017 at 8:55 am
  7. Steve Bender

    Bark splitting may be due to the sudden change in temps. It usually indicates serious damage, but if the foliage on your plant still looks OK, it may have escaped harm.

    January 26, 2017 at 8:00 am
  8. Jenniffer Campbell

    We have a loropetalum tree–it has been growing very nicely for the past 4 years. We live in Central North Carolina. We just had a big snow and ice storm with sudden temperature changes–one week it was in the 60’s, then it was 10 degrees for 2 days, now we are back up to 60’s. My son noticed that the bark on the bottom of the tree is shedding–is there something wrong with the tree? Will the tree survive if it looses it outer layer of bark? It looks healthy other than that. Thank you!

    January 14, 2017 at 8:36 am
  9. Steve Bender

    Cut it back now if you must. Just be aware that you’ll be reducing the number of spring flowers.

    October 20, 2016 at 8:14 am
  10. Laura May

    Is it alright to cut back our hugh (on Steroids) loropetelum now in October?

    October 16, 2016 at 1:38 pm
  11. Grumpy Gardener


    Loropetalum responds to pruning very well. You can cut them as far back as you like and they will grow back with no problem.

    May 20, 2016 at 1:48 pm
  12. Pam Stewart

    Grumpy Gardner,
    I have loropetalum bushes in the flower gardens in front of my house for several years. The leaves are very pretty purple, look in side the bushes and there is nothing but bare branches. Also the bushes barely bloomed this spring, don’t know why. Ok, now the questions… How far back or down can they be “trimmed” in order to get new growth throughout the bushes with out killing them. They are large and overpowering in the flower beds, no room for anything else. HELP! Please?

    May 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm
  13. Grumpy Gardener


    If your shrubs have leafed back out, there is nothing more to do. If the stems have died back, cut off the dead parts and let them grow back.

    May 13, 2016 at 1:14 pm
  14. Bev Stroman

    My loropetelum bloomed in March. Frost came and killed all blooms and turned all leaves brown. Shrubs are 6 ft. Tall. What can I do now.

    May 13, 2016 at 7:55 am

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