Common Name: crape myrtle
Type: Deciduous shrub
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Watermelon red
Sun: Full sun
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil, Air Pollution
Best grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil 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, however. Water roots deeply, particularly in dry spells, but avoid wetting the foliage. Prompt removal of faded inflorescences will extend the bloom period. Plant in a protected location and mulch in winter. 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 reliably winter hardy to USDA Zone 7, whereas roots are usually but not always winter hardy to USDA Zone 5. In the St. Louis area (Zone 5b to 6a), it is probably best to grow these plants as perennials (like buddleias) by cutting all stems back to several inches in early spring. Roots will sprout new stems and flowers will appear on the new growth. It is also an option in St. Louis to prune stems back to live wood in spring at the time the new foliage appears (in somewhat the same manner as with shrub roses), however top growth simply does not usually survive harsh winters here.
This crape myrtle hybrid cultivar is a miniature weeping variety (sometimes referred to as part of the Dixie Series) developed by horticulturist David Chopin of Scenery Hill, PA. It is a deciduous, densely branched, small shrub which grows upright but with branch ends weeping downward. Features dark green foliage and terminal, crepe-papery inflorescences (panicles) of watermelon red flowers which bloom from late spring into fall. In the South, this miniature crape myrtle typically grows 18-24" tall. In St. Louis where winter injury is a problem, plants may grow somewhat smaller.
The two main disease problems of crape myrtles are powdery mildew and fungal leaf spot. This cultivar reportedly has good disease resistance. Foliage may yellow (chlorosis) in alkaline soils. Some susceptibility to aphids and scale. Winter injury, particularly to top growth, may occur in USDA Zones 5 and 6.
This compact crape myrtle may be grouped or massed in borders or foundations. Also a good rock garden specimen. Perhaps best grown as a container plant for patios or other locations around the home.