Leucothoe 'LITTLE FLAMES'®

Leucothoe 'LITTLE FLAMES'®
SIZE/TYPE small shrub
USUAL WIDTH 0.4-0.6m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES ++multicoloured:red and green and deep red
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
LOCATION full sun to shade
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist (dislikes drought)
USDA zone (lowest) 5   (down to -29°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Evergreen broadleaf
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In Central Europe leucothoe genus is a relatively new group of plants that gains more and more attention and admirers, including me. They are low or prostrate evergreen shrubs with leathery leaves and usually excellent hardiness. Various species originate in various parts of ther globe - Madagascar, the Himalayas, Japan, N. and S. America. Dutch breeder Ron van Opstal from Zundert has already selected a few evergreen plants including leucothoe, and in this case his colleague Leo Duyndam finds a mutation of an older SCARLETTA® (Zeblid) variety in 2013. It is called Little Flames® and is patented in USA as PP25246, and EU33167 in Europe from 2015.

Little Flames® leucothoe is a love at first sight if you like vibrant red colours. It has short, narrowly ovate, evergreen leaves with a conspicuous tip. They emerge rich red in spring, mature to medium green with red margins in summer, and change to vibrant carmine red in autumn, and glossy wine red in winter. In late April and May appear small, urn-shaped, insignificant, white flowers. Twigs with spent flowers should be removed immediately after flowering to prevent the plant from making seeds, and thus exhausting it.

Little Flames® will find its place almost anywhere. Being compact and low it can be placed among other shrubs of similar type (rhodos, azaleas, kalmias), it will brighten up a conifer bed, and make a statement in a perennial bed especially in low season when other plants are dying off or not emerged yet. The habit is very uniform and compact. Pruning is usually not needed but can be done in early spring. It is a fontanesiana hybrid which means that it is less tolerant of drought, especially in winter.

Leucothoe grows naturally at the woodland edge or under trees which tells us that it is used to anything from filtered sun to deep shade. However, our tests proved that it lives happily in full sun, too, where it will show better red if given adequate moisture.

As an ericaceous plant it requires soil that is light, acidic, and constantly moist (not wet). If your garden soil is too heavy do not dig a deep hole but make a shallow and wide bed, topped up with a good mixture of peat, fine bark, and leaf (forest) litter. Keep the soil moist by mulching. Slow-release fertilizers are advised. It is very hardy to about -29°C (USDA zone 5), and suitable for outdoor pots with good water check.

Last update 07-10-2018

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  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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