Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech

(Leucothoe fontanesiana)


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 6 feet

Spread: 6 feet

Shape: Mound with arching branches

Drooping leucothoe is a beautiful and graceful evergreen medium-sized shrub with lustrous, dark green foliage. White bell-shaped flowers bloom in the spring. Its arching branches give it a fountain-like effect. This plant is not suitable for sunny or dry locations.

Plant Needs:

Zone: 5 to 8

Light: Partial shade

Moisture: Wet or moist

Soil Type: Sandy, loam, or clay loam

pH Range: 3.7 to 5.5


Suggested uses for this plant include border, naturalizing, and screen.

Planting Notes:

Prefers acid and well drained soil.

Plant in a shady location protected from winter wind.

Does not tolerate drought. Water thoroughly each week during hot, dry weather.


Occasional pruning can be done after spring flowering.

Remove the oldest stems at ground level as needed.


Leaf spot and various fungi can be a problem.


Consult local garden centers historic or public gardens and arboreta regarding cultivars and related species that grow well in your area.

Cultivars of Leucothoe fontanesiana:

`Scarletta' has beautiful, shiny, dark green foliage that becomes a deep, plum-purple color in cold weather. This cultivar is subject to leaf spot.

`Girard's Rainbow' has new foliage that emerges white, pink, and copper; these colors fade with time.


Drooping leucothoe is a slow-growing plant with spreading, arching branches.

It grows best in cool, shady, moist environments.


This material was developed by Carol Ness as part of the Interactive Design and Development Project funded by the Kellogg Foundation.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 1, 2009

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