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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETICS, GENETIC RESOURCE EVALUATION, AND GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF LANDSCAPE TREES AND SHRUBS

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit

Title: Loropetalum chinense 'Snow Panda'

Author
item Pooler, Margaret

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 10, 2013
Publication Date: July 17, 2013
Citation: Pooler, M.R. 2013. Loropetalum chinense 'Snow Panda'. HortScience. 48(7):906.

Interpretive Summary: ‘Snow Panda’, a new white-flowered Chinese fringe flower (Loropetalum chinense) cultivar, was released by the U.S. National Arboretum in 2012. With its pure white strap-shaped flower petals, deep evergreen foliage, and loosely arching branches on a somewhat upright growing habit, ‘Snow Panda’ promises to be a valuable addition to residential and commercial landscapes. Like other L. chinense cultivars, ‘Snow Panda’ grows and flowers best in moist but well-drained slightly acidic soils with high organic matter content. It tolerates full sun or partial shade, but will flower best in full sun. Established plants are relatively drought-tolerant, and it has few disease or pest problems. It is hardy in USDA Zones 7-9, although may not be fully evergreen in colder regions. ‘Snow Panda’ propagates readily by softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings. It is a moderately fast-growing shrub that has grown 10 feet high and 8.5 feet wide in 15 years in Washington, D.C. It is well-suited for use as a sheared evergreen hedge or screen, foundation plant, mass planting, or as a backdrop in the shrub border. Because of its growth rate and ability to withstand pruning, it is also suitable for use in containers or even trained as an espalier.

Technical Abstract: A new Loropetalum chinense, ‘Snow Panda’, developed at the U.S. National Arboretum is described. ‘Snow Panda’ (NA75507, PI660659) originated from seeds collected near Yan Chi He, Hubei, China in 1994 by the North America-China Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC). Several seedlings from this trip were grown in the shrub breeding research nursery at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, and in 2006, ‘Snow Panda’ was selected and propagated for further evaluation. Outstanding features include abundant, white fringe-like flowers that appear in early spring next to medium-green leaves on a loosely vase-shaped but open plant. Flowers occur primarily in spring, but may also appear sporadically throughout the summer. ‘Snow Panda’ is a moderately fast-growing shrub that has grown 10 feet high and 8.5 feet wide in 15 years in Washington, D.C. It grows and flowers best in moist but well-drained slightly acidic soils with high organic matter content, and tolerates full sun or partial shade. Established plants are relatively drought-tolerant, and it has few disease or pest problems. It is hardy in USDA Zones 7-9, although may not be fully evergreen in colder regions. ‘Snow Panda’ propagates readily by softwood or semi-hardwood cuttings dipped in 1000-3000 ppm IBA that can be placed directly into liner-sized pots under mist with rooting occurring in 4-6 weeks. It is well-suited for use as a sheared evergreen hedge or screen, foundation plant, mass planting, or as a backdrop in the shrub border. Because of its growth rate and ability to withstand pruning, it is also suitable for use in containers or even trained as an espalier.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014