Colorful Maryland Native Plants

Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Scarletta’



Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Scarletta,’ Drooping Laurel ‘Scarletta,’ is a dense, slower growing plant with excellent year round foliage. Leaves emerge a bright scarlet color in the spring, followed with drooping spikes of white flowers. Foliage changes to a deep green in the summer and transitions to a burgundy red in the fall. In the winter, the plant retains its leaves with a bronze to purple-ish red coloration. It is a great plant to use in hedges, along foundations, or the stabilize banks. Scarletta grows the best in moist well-drained soil in part shade. It can be grown in full sun but must have consistent moisture. It also tolerates full shade but does not tolerate drought or windy conditions. ‘Scarletta’ is a cultivar of Leucothoe fontanesiana, the straight species of drooping laurel.

LGS Notes:

This shrub is a favorite of mine.  I love the color of the foliage over the seasons, but it’s fall color is to die for!  I’ve used this in many of my shade garden designs.  I like to pair this with perennials with white to light pink blooms, such as Tiarella cordifolia and Chelone glabra. ~Chrissie


Latin Name: Leucothoe fontanesiana
Common Name: Drooping Laurel
Type: Broadleaf Evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Native Range: Southeastern US
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Erosion
(Information from Missouri Botanical Garden)