Feature Plant Leucothoe axillaris
Welcome to This Month in the Garden! Today, the focus is on Leucothoe, an excellent and often over-looked low maintenance shrub for all season interest. Leucothoe axillaris, also known as Coast Leucothoe or Dog-hobble is a low-growing, blooming, evergreen shrub which is native to the southeastern United States from the state of Virginia southward. Leucothoe is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5-8, prefers a moderately moist yet well-drained soil with a pH of approximately 4.5-6.0 (slightly acidic) and a partially to fully shaded location. Leucothoe can also be grown in an area with sun, providing there is sufficient irrigation.
|Leucothoe axillaris Springtime Blooms|
|Leucothoe axillaris Summertime Foliage|
|Leucothoe axillaris Wintertime Foliage|
There are several varieties of Leucothoe to choose from besides ‘Axillaris’, including Leucothoe ‘Rainbow’(zones 4-8 and 3-4 feet tall) Leucothoe fontanesiana or ‘Nana’ Dwarf Drooping Leucothoe (zones 5-8 and 2-3 feet tall) and Leucothoe fontanesiana or ‘Zeblid’ Scarletta (zones 5-8, 18-24 inches tall). Each of these shrubs serve nicely grouped in a rock garden, border or woodland garden, as an under-planting or for naturalizing.
|Leucothoe axillaris in Shade Garden|
Excellent companion plants for Leucothoe include other shade loving species such as Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass), Variegated Hosta, Sweet Flag, Sedge, Variegted Boxwood, species of Ilex (Holly), Rhododendron and Taxas (Yew). In the photograph above, Leucothoe axillaris (center) is combined with Variegated Boxwood (Right), golden Japanese Forest Grass (Left) along with low spreading Repandens Yew and Variegated Hosta (Far Left Backdrop) for all season interest in the landscape.