Blush™ Black Diamond® Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia hybrid 'Ebony Glow'
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Lagerstroemia hybrid 'Ebony Glow'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Blush™ Black Diamond® Crape Myrtle is a wonderful upright shrub to 10 or 12 feet tall, with rich foliage that is dark red to purple-black, holding its color all summer long. From June to September it is smothered with big trusses of dramatic light pink blooms that glow with light against the dark leaves. It is perfect as a lawn specimen, at the back of shrub beds, around the house or as a screen or informal hedge. This easily-grown shrub combines the benefits of all-season foliage with months of vibrant blooms.
Plant the Blush™ Black Diamond® Crape Myrtle in full sun, where its colors will be the strongest and its flowers the most prolific. Any well-drained soil is suitable, including dry and sandy soils, and poor urban soils too. It is disease resistant, so the leaves are always fresh and glossy. Insects are not normally problems and deer usually leave it alone. Fast-growing, it can be trimmed in late winter to keep it more compact, if you wish. Removing the finished flower clusters will give the most blooms later.
Who doesn’t love a ‘twofer’? Well plants come in two-for-one specials too, and you don’t need to look any further than the Black Diamond® crape myrtles to find them. This exciting range of shrubs brings you rich, dark foliage colors, combined with bright flowers all summer, and plants that are both reliable garden staples and simultaneously stunning specimens. Forget those old crape myrtles your grandma might have had, with their dusty leaves all summer and their pale lilac blooms. Dark foliage in crape myrtles really elevates them from summer flowering bushes to all-season foliage plants. Instead of plain-Jane green until the flowers appear, we have rich color from the get-go, plus the brilliant and flamboyant flowering that only crape myrtles can give us. We really love the look of the variety called Blush™, because its sweet pink blooms stand out perfectly against those dark leaves, with each color complimenting the other one.
The Blush Black Diamond Crape Myrtle is an upright deciduous shrub that rapidly grows to between 10 and 12 feet tall, but remains narrow, no more than 6 to 8 feet wide. The foliage is unique, because it emerges in spring a deep red, and quickly turns rich purple. The oval glossy leaves are about 2 inches long and an inch or so wide, and the plant is well-covered in dense foliage. There are other plants that start out red or purple, but most of them quickly turn greenish, and often rather dingy shades at that. Not the Black Diamond crape myrtles. The color intensifies as the thermometer rises, so things only get better, until, in fall, they turn powerful dark reds and oranges, adding color just as the blooms have finished.
The flowers of the Blush Black Diamond Crape Myrtle are carried in large 8-inch long clusters at the ends of new branches. Each flower, which has a unique ‘crepe-paper’ texture, lasts a day, but since a cluster has more than 50 blooms in it, each one lasts 2 to 3 weeks. As fast as one flower cluster is finished, more grow from below it, so starting in mid-June it is possible to have an abundance of flowers all the way to the first frost. In this variety, the blooms are a wonderfully bright, light pink, the sort of color that lifts your heart and brightens everything around it. It will glow from right across the other side of the garden, and against those dark leaves it really shines out.
It is hard to think of places where this shrub would look out of place in any garden, so use it freely, wherever you fancy. Plant it around your house for bright color among your foundation evergreens. Put it at the back of smaller beds and in the middle of larger ones as a striking specimen. Plant it on a lawn, alone or in a group of three, for a gorgeous sight all summer long. If you need to hide an unsightly fence or wall, block out a view, or just give yourself some summer privacy, then a row, spaced about 5 feet apart, will do the trick perfectly.
From zone 7 to 10 the Blush Black Diamond Crape Myrtle forms a full-sized bush. In zone 6 it will often be killed back to the ground, but it will re-sprout and bloom fully, reaching 3 or 4 feet tall. Use it further forward in a shrub bed for summer color – it’s perfect.
Full sun is necessary for the best results with the Blush Black Diamond Crape Myrtle. For soil, think ‘well-drained’. Poor, sandy soils are just fine, once your plant has established itself, and it is very drought resistant. Just avoid wet places and heavy clays that hold water, and your bush will be as happy as can be.
The Blush Black Diamond Crape Myrtle is resistant to both powdery mildew and leaf spot, the most important diseases that can disfigure crape myrtles. No dusty and yellowing leaves – just lush healthy foliage all summer. Deer don’t bother this plant, and insect pests are normally not an issue.
You can maximize flower production and get the longest season by removing the flower heads as soon as the last blossoms fall from it. Cut back to the first pair of leaves, where you will perhaps already see new shoots forming. Leave the clusters of fall untrimmed, to enjoy the interesting seed pods. A trim in late winter or early spring will keep your bush very neat, but it is not essential, as this plant has a naturally dense growth habit.
The crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, has been widely grown in the South for 150 years. Modern varieties are hybrids, with other species added to the mix for color and disease resistance. The US Department of Agriculture doesn’t just work on food crops – it also devotes funding to garden plants. Its Research Service helps support Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, Mississippi, part of the State University. It was there, in 2005, that the first red-leaf crape myrtle was found, named ‘Chocolate Mocha’. Dr Cecil Pounders is a breeder there, and he crossed that plant with the Raspberry Sundae® (‘Whit I’) variety. Among the seedlings was one he called ‘Ebony Glow’. To widen the marketing of this great public-owned variety, it has been christened as Blush™, one of the Black Diamond® series, created by J. Berry Nursery and released in 2012.
When buying any special plant, it is important to get exactly the right one you want. Don’t settle for unlabeled plants called ‘pink crape myrtle’ for example but go for the best with plants like the Blush Black Diamond Crape Myrtle. Our plants are made under license from the trademark holder, so you know they are exactly those original plants discovered by the skill of Dr Pounders. Choose the best, but order now, because our stock is limited, and it will soon all be gone.