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Dwarf Fetterbush, a Small Evergreen Flowering Shrub

Virtues: We love Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Nana’ for its leathery, rich, deep green leaves that rest upon gracefully arched stems, transforming into stunning shades of purple, red, bronze and burgundy in fall through winter. Clusters of perfumed white flowers bloom in spring.


Common name: Dwarf fetterbush; drooping leucothoe; dwarf drooping laurel

Botanical name:Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Nana’

Flowers: Urn-shaped clusters of small, fragrant white flowers blossom against the dark foliage in mid-spring.

Foliage: These evergreen shrubs have deep green, shiny leaves that rest on elegantly curved stems; in fall the dark green leaves begin transforming into striking shades of purples, bronzes, reds and burgundies.

Habit:Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Nana’ are compact, low-growing shrubs that typically grow 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide.

Season: These dwarf evergreen shrubs look spectacular through any season with the dark glossy leaves of spring and summer, changing into vibrant purples, reds and shades of burgundy when the weather grows cold. Bursts of little, aromatic white flowers bloom in bundles in spring.

Origin: This is a cultivar of a shrub native to the eastern United States

How to grow Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Nana’: These compact flowering shrubs are most successful when planted in acidic, well-drained soil with regular watering. They should be protected from winter winds and are most successful in part shade to part sun. They make a good companion for rhododendrons and azaleas, since they like the same conditions. USDA Zones 4–8.

Image: Michael Wolf
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