Regional Picks: Plant This, Not That – Southeast

Fine Gardening - Issue 153
Purple Pixie® Chinese Fringe Flower Japanese barberry

Overused: Japanese barberry

(Berberis thunbergii* cvs.)

Photo: Michelle Gervais

1. Purple Pixie® Chinese Fringe Flower

Name: Loropetalum chinense ‘Peack’

USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10

Size: 2 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun to light shade; well-drained soil

For those looking to add a splash of deep burgundy foliage to their garden but not wishing to get stuck by a Japanese barberry’s spikes, look no further. Purple Pixie® Chinese fringe flower, unlike its much larger cousin, is a dwarf spreading version that, since it was introduced, has become one of the South’s most cherished plants. Great for use in container plantings for its trailing habit or for planting at the front of borders, its uses are numerous. Never again will you have to suffer debilitating pain from the smallest tips of a barberry thorn.


‘Gibraltar’ Bush Clover Butterly bush

Overused: Butterly bush

(Buddleia davidii* cvs.)

Photo: Michelle Gervais

2. ‘Gibraltar’ Bush Clover

Name: Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar’

Zones: 5 to 8

Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and up to 7 feet wide

Conditions: Full sun; well-drained soil

One of summer’s highlights is the fluttering of butter­flies around plants in the garden. Butterfly bushes can be as busy as Grand Central Terminal in summer, but snipping off old flowers can be tedious. ‘Gibraltar’ bush clover is an excellent alternative. Tough, dependable, and deer resistant, this shrub has arching stems that carry a fountain of rosy purple flowers from August through September. Its ultimate spread does cause a problem for small gardens, but when you need to go big, this plant won’t disappoint.


‘Freckle Face’ Blackberry Lily 'Stella d'Oro' daylily

Overused: ‘Stella d’Oro’ daylily

(Hemerocallis ‘Stella d’Oro’)

Photo: Michelle Gervais

3. ‘Freckle Face’ Blackberry Lily

Name: Belamcanda chinensis ‘Freckle Face’

Zones: 5 to 9

Size: 18 to 24 inches tall and 1 foot wide

Conditions: Full sun to light shade (tends to bloom longer with light shade); well-drained soil

No one could disagree that our landscapes have been flooded by ‘Stella d’Oro’ daylilies. A great alternative is ‘Freckle Face’ blackberry lily. The swordlike foliage looks similar to bearded iris (Iris cvs., Zones 3–9), forming a neat clump. Lilylike flowers are produced from July through August on stalks elevated above the foliage. After flowering, seed capsules are formed, which break open to reveal shiny black seeds clustered like blackberry fruit—hence, its common name.


Robert Woodman is a manager and plant specialist for the Merrifield Garden Center in Gainesville, Virginia.

Photos, except where noted:

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