Common Name: crape myrtle
Type: Deciduous shrub
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Cherry red
Sun: Full sun
Suggested Use: Hedge
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil, Air Pollution
Best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Best flowers in full sun. Does well in loamy, clay soils with good drainage. Benefits from a slow release fertilizer. Overly fertile soils tend to produce lush foliage growth at the expense of flowering with somewhat increased susceptibility to winter injury. Water roots deeply, particularly in dry spells, but avoid wetting the foliage. Plant in a protected location and apply a winter mulch. Growing crape myrtles in the St. Louis area can be tricky because the above ground branches often die to the ground in winter, particularly when temperatures dip below -5 degrees F. Above ground branches are considered to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 7, whereas roots are usually but not always hardy to USDA Zone 5. In the St. Louis area (Zone 6a), these plants may be grown in somewhat the same manner as buddleias (butterfly bushes) by cutting all stems back to 8” in early spring each year. Roots will sprout new stems which typically grow to 2’ tall by the end of the growing season. Flowers appear on the new wood. It is also an option in St. Louis to grow these plants as woody shrubs by pruning them back to live wood in spring at the time new foliage begins to appear (in somewhat the same manner as with some shrub roses). With protection, top growth will survive some winters, but will still suffer significant injury or die to the ground in harsh winters.
The RAZZLE DAZZLE series, developed at a Michael Dirr breeding program at the Center for Applied Nursery Research in Dearing, Georgia, features a group of crepe myrtle cultivars noted for ease of care, excellent flower colors, handsome foliage, compact habit and good disease resistance. CHERRY DAZZLE is a deciduous, spreading, multi-stemmed shrub that typically matures to 3’ tall and 4’ wide. It features red buds opening to crepe-papery inflorescences of cherry red flowers that bloom in summer (July – August). If spent flowers are promptly deadheaded, additional flowers will continue to bloom into fall. Dark green foliage (bronze new growth in spring) turns burgundy-red in fall. Grayish-brown bark exfoliates with age. Flowers give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter. 'Gamad I' is commonly sold in commerce under the trade name of CHERRY DAZZLE. U.S. Plant Patent PP16,917 was issued on August 1, 2006.
This cultivar has good resistance to the two main disease problems of crape myrtles: fungal leaf spot and powdery mildew. Foliage may yellow (chlorosis) in alkaline soils. Some susceptibility to aphids and scale. Winter injury, particularly to top growth, often occurs in USDA Zones 5 and 6.
Good dwarf plants for foundations and other small areas of the landscape. May be used as a specimen shrub or in groups or mass planting. Also effective in shrub borders or perennial borders. Where winter hardy, it may also be grown as a small hedge.