Compact Leatherleaf

Chamaedaphne calyculata 'Compacta'

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Compact Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata 'Compacta') at Weston Nurseries

Compact Leatherleaf

Compact Leatherleaf

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  3a

Other Names:  Chamaedaphne caliculata


This low growing compact native has a lovely fine texture with its small, dark green leathery leaves that bronze in the winter; dainty white bell flowers along the stems in spring; a great plant for the water's edge

Ornamental Features

Compact Leatherleaf features dainty chains of white bell-shaped flowers along the branches from early to late spring. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green evergreen foliage. The oval leaves turn coppery-bronze in the fall, which persists throughout the winter. It produces brick red capsules from mid summer to late winter.

Landscape Attributes

Compact Leatherleaf is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a mounded form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Compact Leatherleaf is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Compact Leatherleaf will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for poor, acidic soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selection of a native North American species. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Compact Leatherleaf makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. It can be used either as 'filler' or as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, depending on the height and form of the other plants used in the container planting. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Accent  Massing  Garden  Container 
Flowers  Fruit  Texture  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features