How prune my loropetalums that are too tall?
Thanks to Peggy Moore for this great question and pictures! She has two gorgeous Loropetalum shrubs flanking her front door. She’s never trimmed them, and they’re now about 6 feet tall. But she’d like for them to be about 4 feet. How does she go about trimming them?
Although it may not seem like it, this is actually a very easy situation to deal with. First, Loropetalum responds well to pruning.
And second, you only want to remove 2 feet from a 6 foot tall plant. That’s one-third of the total height, so it fits within our one-third rule: never remove more than one-third of a plant at any one time.
Her Loropetalum shrubs have a very lithe shape to them at the moment that is quite nice. So even though you could simply hedge them back to 4 feet, I recommend that you prune in keeping with the tree-like shape that the shrubs have developed. That would mean taking out entire branches from the height of the shrub, rather than giving it a flat-top.
Since Loropetalum responds well to pruning, don’t be too nervous about it. Even if you make a few mistakes, the plants should be fine. These shrubs appear to be in quite a bit of shade, so they may not flower much.
But if they do, wait until after they’ve flowered to prune them. If you prune too early, you’ll prune out all of the beautiful flower buds. And if you prefer to hedge them, rather than keep their tree-like form, the growth may take a while to fill back in. The plants appear to have been growing into tree-form for quite a while, so changing their habit to be shrubbier will probably take a few growing seasons.