How are the heights measured?
All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.
What is a gallon container?
Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.
How does the delivery process work?
All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!
Why are some states excluded from shipping?
The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.
The Crimson Red™ Black Diamond® Crape Myrtle is a new variety of crape myrtle that combines vibrant flowers with intense foliage color to bring you a two-in-one tree that adds more to your garden than any other single plant available can do. From early summer until the arrival of the first frost, you will be treated to a continuous display of rich red flowers, in large, showy clusters at the end of every branch, set off against foliage that is consistently red-black from spring to leaf drop. All this on a tree that will grow no more than 12 feet tall, and that can be kept significantly smaller with simple annual pruning. Grow it as a specimen, in a row as a screen, or with other shrubs for a stunning display all summer.
- Reliable all-season rich red foliage
- Vibrant, fiery-red flowers from summer to fall
- Ideal small tree for smaller garden spaces
- Grows well even in poor-soil, drought and urban conditions
- Free of unsightly powdery mildew and other diseases
The Crimson Red™ Black Diamond® Crape Myrtle should be grown in full sun for maximum flowering and the richest leaf color. It will thrive in almost any soil, just so long as it is well-drained. Water regularly during the first season, but after that this tree will thrive in drought and hot, humid weather. It is hardy into zone 6, where it will reliably re-sprout from the base, even if the upper branches are killed in winter. Because it flowers on new shoots, you can be sure of profuse flowering. This tree is reliably free of powdery mildew and other common diseases, so it always looks perfect all year round.
- Plant Hardiness Zones 6-9
- Mature Width 8
- Mature Height 12
- Sun Needs Full Sun
The Crimson Red Crape Myrtle forms a rounded small tree or large shrub, densely covered in glossy leaves that emerge in spring a rich deep-red, and that hold their color all through summer and fall. This is significantly different from many other ‘red leaf’ crape myrtles, which only have red leaves in spring and early summer. On these older, inferior plants the leaves fade to deep green as the summer heat arrives, and the dramatic effect of the colored foliage is lost. With the Crimson Red Crape Myrtle, you are assured of rich red-black foliage all season long.
In early summer the first flower clusters open. The Crimson Red Crape Myrtle is the earliest in the year of all the red-leaf crape myrtles to begin flowering, so you won’t be waiting long. The flowers are carried in clusters at the ends of every new branch, and they are 5 to 6 inches long, and almost as wide. There are about 15 flowers in each cluster, and the buds are deep burgundy in color. As the flowers open they show rich red petals with a yellow flower-center, and the flowers are a full 1 ½ inches across. Each cluster is in flower for about 2 weeks.
As fast as the flowers fade, new flowering clusters develop, so that this tree will be in continuous bloom from early summer until the first frost of fall brings the display to an end. If you remove the clusters once the last flower falls, you will keep that display coming even more strongly. Cut the finished clusters off at the first pair of full-sized leaves. New shoots will already be showing, or they will quickly develop after you trim. For an extra feature, start leaving the spent clusters once early fall arrives, and these will develop into attractive seed heads that persist well into winter, adding interest to your garden.
Growing Crimson Red Black Diamond Crape Myrtles
The Crimson Red™ Crape Myrtle is fast-growing, so you will not be waiting years for results. Within 3 or 4 years your plant will already be 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, and after a few more years it will reach as much as 12 feet tall and be 8 feet wide. This is an ideal size for a smaller specimen in a small space, so if you have a modern, smaller urban garden, this is the tree you want to grow. It can be pruned to show a taller trunk or to keep it shorter and bushier. With annual pruning it can be kept to around 6 feet tall.
Grow the Crimson Red™ Crape Myrtle as a lawn specimen, as the perfect colorful screen along your property line, or as a background shrub behind other, smaller shrubs. It is hardy from zone 6 to zone 9, so it can be grown in many different parts of the country. In zone 6 plant in a sheltered spot. Some of the branches may die in winter in zone 6, depending on the location and weather, but new shoots will develop from the base of the plant. Since crape myrtles flower on new stems, you will still have just as much flowering as in warmer places. Wait until the buds begin to sprout and then cut back all the parts which have not sprouted. Plants in zone 6 will grow to between 3 and 5 feet tall.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
Plant the Crimson Red™ Crape Myrtle in full sun. Even a little shade will reduce flowering, and lighten the leaf color, so save your sunniest and hottest spot for this plant. It thrives in hot conditions and grow well in any well-drained soil, from sand to clay. It also grows well in poor soils, such as sands and gravels, and it tolerates harsh urban conditions well, making it ideal for a town garden. Once established it is extremely drought resistant, and it grows well in spots where other plants will not survive. It also tolerates salt spray, so plant it at the seaside, or in areas exposed to highway salt.
Maintenance and Pruning
The Crimson Red™ Crape Myrtle can be left to grow naturally, with little or no trimming, or it can be pruned each year to maintain a shorter, bushier plant. Prune in late winter, before the new growth emerges (or at the same time it emerges, in zone 6). Cut back the branches that grew in the previous year as much or as little as you choose. They can be cut back just an inch or so from the older wood, or you can trim just a few inches off the end – the choice is ours depending on the size you want to maintain. Pruning at this time does not interfere with flowering. Do not cut the new shoots, other than to remove finished flower clusters, as trimming these shoots in summer will reduce or even eliminate flowering, which is clearly something you don’t want to do.
History and Origins of the Crimson Red Black Diamond Crape Myrtle
The Crimson Red™ Black Diamond Crape Myrtle was developed by Dr. Cecil Pounder, a Research Geneticist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. He used a red-leaf crape myrtle variety called ‘Chocolate Mocha’, and other types of crape myrtle, to make hybrid plants with persistent red-leaves and vibrant colors. There were several plants created, forming the Ebony series. The full name of the Crimson Red Crape Myrtle is ‘Ebony Flame’.
Dr. Pounder’s work was brought to gardeners by the J. Berry Nursery who created the Black Diamond® series, gathering together all the very best red-leafed crape myrtles. Our plants are genetically identical to the original plant developed by Dr. Pounder, and they are reproduced by stem pieces, not from seed, since growing from seed is a guarantee of inferior plants. These new plants have been taken to the hearts of gardeners with enthusiasm, so our stocks will not last long. Order now while we can still satisfy your order.