New Colorful Crape Myrtle

By Charlie Nardozzi

Crape myrtles are considered the lilacs of the South. These beautiful, small trees feature attractive, lilac-shaped flowers that bloom from mid-summer until frost as well as exfoliating bark for winter interest. Carl Whitcomb of Stillwater, Oklahoma, is a former horticultural professor and has been breeding crape myrtles for years. One of his latest introductions adds unusual foliage color to the list of attractions.

'Rhapsody in Pink' crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) features dark crimson new foliage and stems for a few weeks in spring. These eventually fade to dark green by midsummer. The pink flowers contrast nicely with the new foliage and stems. Because the flowers are sterile, they bloom continuously from July until frost. The small tree is hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9, powdery mildew resistant, and drought tolerant. It grows 10 to 15 feet tall when mature. Fertilize in spring to promote new growth.

For more information on this new crape myrtle and others that Carl Whitcomb has bred, go to: Lacebark Horticulture Research .

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