Leucothoe Red Lips also known as the Switch Ivy has evergreen glossy slim leaves with stunning dark pink to red highlights over the autumn months. Leucothoe Red Lips is a relatively compact leafy shrub. It is a low growing evergreen, naturally forming an attractive dome shape shrub. It prefers a moist acidic soil in partial shade or full shade. When planted against a backdrop of green foliage, the reddish hues of Leucothoe Red Lips leaves make a striking visual impact in the garden.
Frequently called Switch Ivy, the Leucothoe Red Lips grows to a height of 30 to 50 centimeters and a width of 30 to 50 centimeters. Over time it forms a compact mound. The shrub grows at a slow rate and may take many years to attain its full growth potential. It does not tolerate pruning well and should never be trimmed.
During the late spring and early summer months, Leucothoe Red Lips produces long, arching flower spikes. The blossoms’ white colourations are a stark contrast to the shrub’s reddish leaves. The flowers have a mild, sweet fragrance that most people find pleasing.
Choose a partially shady or full shade planting location as Switch Ivy does not tolerate full sun. It grows well in dappled shade beneath trees or as a border plant beside a structure which affords it protection from any sunlight. The petite size of Switch Ivy also makes it an ideal container plant for balconies or patios. Once planted in a container, it rarely requires repotting.
The Leucothoe Red Lips shrubs require acidic soil conditions to truly thrive. The soil should be rich in organic material. It cannot sustain periods of drought and prefers evenly moist soil at all times. When first planted, the shrub requires frequent watering until fully established. After the shrub grows adequate roots, it is a hardy plant and needs hardly any care to flourish.
In the autumn, the shrub’s foliage takes on striking hues of red and pink. During the drab days of winter, the colourful foliage of the Leucothoe Red Lips shrub stands out. It is a highly frost-tolerant and can flourish throughout the winter months in regions with relatively mild weather.
Switch Ivy works well below structural plants such as topiary spirals including these Thuya Spirals or Yew Spirals. As it likes acidic match it up with azaleas such as Azalea Japonica Hot Shot.
Azalea Japonica Hot Shot
Magnolia Alba Superba
Chamaecyparis Obtusa Nana - Hinoki Cypress