Drooping Leucothoe

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Lawn & Garden

Drooping Leucothoe is an evergreen shrub that is native to the southeastern region of the United States. During spring, it produces charming flowers that look like lily-of-the-valley. It can grow up to three to six feet in height and width. Its branches are arching and spreading with the weight of the fragrant clusters of creamy white flowers. The leaves are dark green, leathery, and three to six inches long. In fall and winter, they usually turn to a bronzy or purplish color. There are also dwarf forms that are low and tight.

This shrub thrives in partial to full shade, but it can tolerate the sun if protected from drying winds and mulched. It prefers moist, well-drained, organic soils and acidic growing conditions. If it becomes too leggy, it can be cut back to the ground.

Leucothoe is a good ground cover and is excellent for mass plantings. It’s perfect for hiding the base of other shrubs that become leggy over time, particularly rhododendrons. Its flowers and leaves are also great additions for bouquets.

There are several cultivars of Leucothoe with varying leaf colors and sizes. Some of the best ones have variegated green and white leaves or dark purple ones.

Looking for more gardening information? Check out:

  • Landscape Shrubs; find the right combination of shrubs to create the effect you want
  • Types of Shrubs; see tips for choosing the right shrub for your yard
  • Gardening; turn your garden into a lush retreat using these step-by-step instructions


1. What is Drooping Leucothoe?

Drooping Leucothoe is an evergreen shrub that belongs to the Ericaceae family. It is native to the southeastern United States and can grow up to 6 feet tall. The plant has long, arching branches that are covered in glossy, dark green leaves. In the spring, it produces small, bell-shaped flowers that are white or pink in color. The plant is popular for its ornamental value and is often used in landscaping.

2. How do you care for Drooping Leucothoe?

Drooping Leucothoe requires minimal care once established. It prefers well-drained, acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant should be watered regularly, especially during hot and dry periods. Fertilizer can be applied in the spring, but it is not necessary. Pruning can be done in the spring or fall to maintain the shape and size of the plant. The plant is generally pest and disease resistant, but it can be susceptible to root rot in poorly drained soil.

3. Can Drooping Leucothoe be grown in containers?

Yes, Drooping Leucothoe can be grown in containers. However, it is important to choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system. The container should also have drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom. The plant should be watered regularly and fertilized as needed. In colder climates, the container should be moved indoors or placed in a protected area during the winter.

4. Is Drooping Leucothoe deer resistant?

Yes, Drooping Leucothoe is considered deer resistant. The plant has a bitter taste and an unpleasant odor that deters deer from feeding on it. However, it is important to note that no plant is completely deer proof, and hungry deer may still eat the plant if no other food sources are available.

5. Can Drooping Leucothoe be propagated?

Yes, Drooping Leucothoe can be propagated through stem cuttings or layering. Stem cuttings should be taken in the summer or early fall and treated with rooting hormone before being planted in well-draining soil. Layering involves bending a branch down to the ground and covering a portion of it with soil. The buried portion of the branch will develop roots, and the new plant can be separated from the parent plant once it has established itself.

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