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Louteridium donnell-smithii, Louteridium

Louteridium donnell-smithii

Family: Acanthaceae
Origin: Central and South America
Large shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftShadeRegular waterKeep soil moistUnusual color

Its distinctive, deep green, glossy leaves are heart-shaped, up to 18 inches long, and give the foliage a soft, velvety texture. Louteridium donnell-smithii or simply Louteridium, can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 9-11.

As an evergreen large shrub or small tree, Louteridium reaches a height of 5 to 10 feet tall and spread of 4 to 7 feet wide with a dense, rounded crown that casts a pleasant shade. Plant Louteridium in a sunny spot or slightly shady area, with rich well-drained soil that is continuously kept a bit moist but not soggy. Water it regularly during its first growing season to help the roots establish.

The unusual color of Louteridium is the result of its new growth coming in alternately green and red hues. As the foliage matures, most of it turns to the characteristic deep green color, with some of the older leaves having a slightly purplish tint. The biggest attraction of Louteridium is its stunning flowers. The clusters of pink-and-white flowers appear in late spring and last for about a month.

In regions where the temperature drops below freezing, Louteridium will die back to the ground, but will return next spring. Gardeners in colder regions can enjoy this exotic shrub in containers, which will provide better protection from the elements. When growing Louteridium in a pot, use a container with drainage holes, and choose a potting mix specifically designed for tropical plants. Place the container in a sunny spot, typically facing east or south, and keep the soil moist throughout the growing season. When the temperature drops, bring the container inside or to a sheltered area.

Louteridium donnell-smithii, Louteridium
Louteridium donnell-smithii, Louteridium
Louteridium donnell-smithii, Louteridium
Louteridium donnell-smithii, Louteridium

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