Bellini Grape Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia indica 'Congrabel' (PP# 28,975)
View more from Crape Myrtle Trees
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Probiotic Root Stimulant
Lagerstroemia indica 'Congrabel' (PP# 28,975)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Bellini® Grape Crape Myrtle is a break-through plant that makes continuous summer blooming a reality for even the smallest garden. You can easily tuck this bush into any sunny corner, because it only grows a little over 3 feet tall. It is perfect for mass planting, or edging beds, paths and driveways. It fills large planter boxes perfectly and its gorgeous rich purple blooms are simply wonderful. They come continuously from mid-summer all the way into fall, and you don’t even need to trim them if you don’t want to. The rich green foliage turns powerful reds and oranges in fall, to end the season on a high note.
Grow the Bellini® Grape Crape Myrtle in full sun, as shade will reduce blooming. It thrives in any well-drained soil, and poor soils, even sands and urban conditions, don’t bother it at all. It is very drought resistant, and tough and vigorous, despite its compact size. It is also resistant to powdery mildew, and pests don’t usually bother it at all. Deer leave it alone, and a simple spring pruning is all the care it needs to keep it blooming and blooming for months.
Crape Myrtles are always popular summer-flowering trees and shrubs, and a great garden choice if you have room for them. Unfortunately, most of them are large, and many are small trees – great for a big garden, but how can we enjoy all that color if we only have a small one? Plant breeders have been working hard on this problem, and so now we can bring you a gorgeous crape myrtle that isn’t 15 or 20 feet tall – it isn’t even 5 or 10 feet tall. No, the Bellini® Grape Crape Myrtle is hardly more than 3 feet tall, but its dense stems carry an abundance of blossom heads, and you will love the clean deep purple richness of those blooms, which last from mid-summer into fall.
The Bellini Grape Crape Myrtle is a compact, rounded bush growing between 3 and 4 feet tall, so it’s perfect for smaller garden beds, or for mass planting in larger ones. It makes a great edging for a big bed, or alongside a path or driveway, where its continuous blooming will really bring the place alive. If you need a colorful, low-care hedge to separate one part of the garden from another, or along the side of your yard, then this is an ideal choice. It is small enough too, for planters and pots, and a group in long boxes would be a terrific way to edge a patio or large balcony.
The Bellini Grape Crape Myrtle might be small, but its flowering powers are undiminished. It grows an abundance of stems each spring, and each and every branch is topped with a big bunch of flowers. The stems are covered in small leaves, just 1½ inches long, which are smooth, glossy, pointed and dark green – a perfect background for the big flower clusters which are a pure grape-purple, rich, strong and clean. The effect is stunning, and you will love how this color gleams and pops in the sunlight. The individual flowers may only last one day of glory, but they are produced in abundance in the flower heads, so each one is packed with bloom for 2 weeks. With about 20 heads on each bush, coming several at a time, that means continuous blooming from mid-summer all the way into fall. It outperforms just about any other summer-flowering shrub, and you can’t beat it for color. The last flowers have hardly faded before the colder weather transforms the leaves from green to glowing shades of bright red and orange, creating a fall display you will love. Even in winter the peeling bark, which reveals multiple shades of tan, cream, brown and gray, keeps the interest going.
Grow the Bellini Grape Crape Myrtle in full sun – even partial shade will diminish the production of blooms. Those hot, dry spots in the garden are perfect for it, because it is completely at home in drier, poor soils. Don’t spoil it with water and fertilizer, and wet soil is a definite ‘no-no’. Sandy soils, even with rocks and gravel, suit it just fine, and hard clay or urban soils are acceptable too. This vigorous shrub takes all that in its stride, just like it resists the powdery mildew that is so unsightly on older varieties of crape myrtle. Insect pests are no bother, and even deer ignore this bush. It helps keep the blooms coming if you snip off the spent flower heads when the last blooms fade. They will turn into attractive seed pods, but that reduces the production of more flowers. This is mainly valuable in the early part of the blooming season, so when summer ends you can stop trimming, letting some pods form from the last flower clusters. A trim in late winter or early spring will set your plants up for the coming season. Just remove any dead wood and thin branches, and then cut back the remaining ones by about one-third, to a strong bud. If in doubt, wait until the buds are clearly swelling, and use them as a guide to which branches to remove completely, and where to cut back to. In zone 6 the stems may be killed back hard by low temperatures, but don’t worry, as new shoots will come from the base and flowering will be undiminished.
The Bellini Grape Crape Myrtle is a new variety of Lagerstroemia indica, a plant native to China, Japan, Korea and India. It was brought to America in 1790, and first planted in Charleston, South Carolina. Since then many different varieties have been created. In 2012 the versatile plantsman and breeder Michael Farrow, from Maryland, looked at some seedlings he had grown from seed of an older crape myrtle variety called ‘Twilight’. That plant becomes a small tree, over 20 feet tall, but it has wonderful purple blooms. Among the seedlings was one that retained the fabulous flower color, but only grew a few feet tall. Working with the Conard-Pyle Company, from Pennsylvania, an established business innovating the best of new plant varieties, he patented his new plant in 2018, with the name ‘Congrabel’. The company Star® Roses & Plants placed this new variety at the top of their Bellini® Crape Myrtle range, as Bellini® Grape, and it’s a star among that range of compact plants. There is enormous demand for this break-through small shrub, with its wonderful color and continuous blooms, so order yours now, because they are going to be gone very quickly.