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Leucothoe axillaris is an evergreen shrub native to a few southern states. It likes to grow in partly shady areas, but is tolerant of pure sun. Like other evergreen shrubs, it prefers to grow in moist, acidic soil. The shrub can grow to be 3' to 5' tall and 6' to 10'wide. Its oval leaves grow alternately on its wide-spreading branches and are about 3 1/2" long and 2" wide. They're semi-coarse in texture and also feature serration's that look like folds. They change from dark green during growing season to purple in the winter.
The white, bell-shaped flowers of this leucothoe bloom in spring. They grow in leaf axils in long hanging racemes (which are unbranched inflorescence) and are hermaphrodite, having both male and female organs. They are extremely fragrant and make a very good compliment to Kalmia and other species suited to natural gardens.
Leaf spot can be a problem for Leucothoe axillaris in places with little air circulation. It's also hard to find. Another interesting feature about this specimen is that it is shorter and broader than its relative, Leucothoe fontanesiana.
Leucothoes axillaris is propagated by cutting its roots, usually in the summer, when it is semi-hardwooded, but it's also possible in the winter. Its seeds can be planted with satisfactory results as well. Visit the Public Safety Garden and the West Entrance Garden to see Leucothoe axiallaris. Hardy in zones 5-6
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