Miss Billie gave me seedlings from under her Loropetalums ten years ago. 'The ones with green leaves have white flowers,' she said. I ended up with only one white, placed to anchor the corner of the white bed around the pumphouse.
I never call it by common name, 'Fringe Tree'
so as not to confuse with Chionanthus retusus
or American native Chionanthus virginicus.
Colors range from near red to a pale pink. Dr. Dirr comments that some of the cultivar names are the same plant.
Loropetalum plays well with the pink and fuchsia blooms of our usual Spring bloomers: deciduous Magnolias, Azaleas, Redbuds
I can see these two from my kitchen window, different colors
and a slightly different growth habit.
When Loropetalums were first popular in the early 1990s, it was not really know how large they would grow. Vendors are selling some 'dwarf' cultivars -- none of my seedlings turned out dwarf. The two above are smaller than most of the rest, but still growing. I suspect their smaller size has to do with their location unprotected from north winds, in open sun and rather poor soil.
New growth tends to be russet red on pinker flowered cultivars, a purple-red on the darker ones. Old leaves turn orange or red before falling off. The white form's old leaves turn yellow.
Foliage is darker in shade. Loropetalum roots are red, too.
I see this group of 3 tree-form Loropetalums from my kitchen window.
Another group of three with white in the distance.
Loropetalums make good companions for a tall tree-form hedge
when planted with Crape Myrtles.
This plant has not been established as a non-native threat in the twenty plus years since it hit the nursery trade as a big seller. It does seed about occasionally in rich garden soil.
Around town, I see commercial landscape plantings where Loropetalums planted after 2000 were lovely for several years, now pruned into flying saucers, oversized pillboxes and other contorted shapes. In an effort to keep them contained the graceful habit is lost and many of the blooms.
I almost forgot to mention that Loropetalums bloom much earlier than Azaleas and the show goes on until May, a long bloom season followed by sporadic bloom through the summer and another minor show about August, lasting until the first hard freeze.
Unless you find a guaranteed dwarf cultivar, I would just give them room and stand back. Definitely not a foundation plant, Loropetalums are one of the most colorful shrubs I grow.