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Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket'

Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket'
crape myrtle
Exuberant orange-red fall foliage
Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket'
The tree at five years in our garden – still small

Common name crape myrtle
Family lythraceae
Life cycle tree (Z6-9)
Flowers magenta (late summer)
Size to 20'
Light sun
Cultural notes ordinary garden soil
Seed ripensearly November

Very popular in the Southern U.S., crape myrtle is at the northern edge of its hardiness in our zone 6 garden. The last tree to bloom for us, but when it does it's quite a sight. For years, I never pruned the tree, and its growth habit got a little rangy, but a judicious trimming operation was all it needed for a more elegant form. It also brought out another great asset of this small tree: the reddish exfoliating bark on the naked strong uprights of the multi-trunk structure. In spring of 2015, our tree re-emerged unhappy, only leafing out on a third of its main branches. Perhaps those two true zone-6 winters of 2014 and 2015 were a bit much for this Southern lady. Still, I hope she hangs in there – I'll miss her when she's gone!
Fast-forward a couple of years, and we've moved to the Houston area – land of the crape myrtle! They're everywhere, in medians, communal plantings in the ubiquitous master-planned communities – and at garden centers. We picked up one that appears to be similar to our old 'Rubra', named 'Red Rocket'. Still small, but I'm already looking forward to when it's a full-grown tree! Back in Pennsylvania, crape myrtles were among the very last trees to leaf out in spring, waiting till well into May, but down in our new garden, new leaves appear as early as late February.

crape myrtle
Marvellous bark, marvellous structure
Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket'
Newly planted 'Red Rocket'
crape myrtle
'Red Rocket', blooming early July
Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket'
New leaves in February for 'Red Rocket'

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: back fence border

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Seed from '05 garden. Baggy 35F (4w) - 70F (40d; 8%G, 11d)

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