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Leucothoe axillaris is a medium-sized evergreen shrub, native to North America. It has a well branched, erect stem with arched branches; the shoots are reddish in color, with the passage of time the foliage becomes dark green, shiny, slightly leathery and waxy; the leaves are oval, pointed and become reddish during the autumn period. In late spring it produces a large amount of small white bell-shaped flowers, gathered in clusters that hang from the leaf axil, in the lower part of the stem; they are very fragrant. Easy to grow shrub, it can be pruned without problems, and therefore it is often used as a hedge plant to obtain high-impact decorative effects.
The variety of Leucothoe axillaris is grown in a shady or partially shaded place, can tolerate sunny positions, but it is better if the sun does not hit its leaves during the hottest hours of the day. These shrubs are resistant, do not fear the cold and can withstand intense and prolonged frosts. If the temperatures are particularly harsh it is advisable to protect the root system with the use of mulching material or dry leaves that will be placed at the base of the plant for proper protection.
As for the water supply, from March to October water the Leucothoe axillaris regularly, avoiding that the soil remains dry for excessively long periods of time; during the cold months we suspend the watering, even if it is good to check that the soil does not remain completely dry for a long time. Naturally it is also necessary to check that water does not form which will be dangerous for the plant.
During the vegetative period we provide fertilizer for acidophilic plants, every 15-20 days, mixed with the irrigating water.
To best develop Leucothoe axillaris plants need acid soil; an excess of limestone in the soil quickly causes iron chlorosis and a stunted development of the plant.
We then plant this variety of plant in acid soil, mainly composed of peat, and remember to practice a treatment with greening products at least every 6 months.
It is also possible to mix the soil with sand and organic material, so as to provide all the necessary nutrients.
As for the multiplication of Leucothoe axillaris plants, it occurs by seed, in spring, or semi-woody cutting, taking the apex of the branches during the summer period and placing the cuttings in special containers where the new shoots can develop.
Leucothoe axillaris: Pests and diseases
Generally, plants belonging to this variety are not affected by pests or diseases. It can happen that a very heavy and moist soil favors the development of radical rots; during the spring period aphids sometimes attack young buds and new shoots. If there is an excess of humidity it is possible that the plants are attacked by fungal diseases. To effectively counter them, it will be necessary to intervene promptly with the use of specific products that will be able to contain and solve the problem.