Enduring Summer Pink Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG B2' (PP# 25,477)
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Lagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG B2' (PP# 25,477)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Enduring Summer™ Pink Crape Myrtle has an abundance of showy blooms set against rich green foliage, from June to September without a pause. The big heads are packed with large pink blooms of a deep and rich shade. The leaves emerge red in spring and turn dark green for the summer, then becoming orange and bright red in fall. The flaking, multi-colored bark is attractive in winter. This compact shrub grows to 4 or 5 feet tall, and its rounded form is perfect for filling beds with summer color. Grow it in all those hot and difficult spots that every garden has.
Full sun and dry soil don’t bother the Enduring Summer™ Pink Crape Myrtle, which can be grown anywhere from zone 6 to zone 10. In zone 6 there may be some winter die-back, but it re-sprouts reliably from the roots and still blooms profusely. Any well-drained soil suits it perfectly, and it does well in poor soils, including sand and rock, as well as city soils. It is resistant to the major diseases of crape myrtles, pests don’t bother it, and deer usually leave it alone. With a simple spring pruning you are set to go for another season of continuous color.
Pink blooms are always big favorites in the garden. That showy color says ‘fun’ and its light-hearted look is always welcome. Pink flowers also show up well, and against green foliage they look terrific. If you could have a profusion of pink blooms on a dense shrub that keeps blooming and blooming all summer, what’s not to like? If we also add that it is tough, drought-resistant, thrives in sun, and has leaves that stay fresh and healthy all summer, then we have a queue around the block. Well, with the Enduring Summer™ Pink Crape Myrtle, you get all that and more.
The Enduring Summer Pink Crape Myrtle is a bushy shrub, reaching 4 to 5 feet tall, and the same across, with an attractive rounded form. It is deciduous, and in winter the stems are an attractive garden feature. The bark on older stems and branches peels in irregular strips and patches to reveal varying tones of taupe, brown, and gray-brown. The leathery leaves have a smooth, glossy surface, and they are about 2 inches long and an inch wide. Spring leaves are reddish when they first appear, making a colorful beginning to the season. They mature to a rich dark green for the summer, and in fall they can take on tones of vibrant oranges and red, making a great fall feature.
Of course, it is the flowers we most want to see in the Enduring Summer Pink Crape Myrtle, and there are plenty of those. From June to September this bush is in continuous bloom, and the spectacular flower-heads make a great display. Every new stem ends in a cluster of blooms, and there are as many as 150 flowers in each cluster. They are a bright pink, with purple tones keeping the color rich and strong. Each flower is over an inch across, with heavily-textured petals, crumpled and folded like the crepe paper this plant is named after. They last just one day, but at any time there are many flowers open, so a flower-head lasts a full 2 weeks in bloom. With the continuous growth of new stems throughout the season, each topped with blooms, your bush is never short on flower power. As the blooms fall the clusters are transformed into seed heads, with rounded pods, which can make an attractive showing during late fall and winter. It is best to remove these as they form, so that your bush puts its efforts into blooming, not seed production. Cut just above a full-sized leaf and before you know it new stems will be sprouting out. If you want to see those seed heads in winter, then stop removing spent flowers once September arrives – that way you keep blooms coming earlier and still get to enjoy the seed pods.
The Enduring Summer Pink Crape Myrtle is the perfect plant for sunny parts of your garden. In fact, if you plant it in shadier places it will let you know it is unhappy by not blooming. Use this plant for those sunny places that other plants find too hot. Its height is perfect for hiding an ugly fence, so plant a row, spacing the bushes 3 feet apart. Grow it as an informal hedge along your property line – its rounded, compact form is always neat. Plant them among other sun-loving shrubs in your borders, and it would look good planted on a lawn too, especially if you don’t have room for a larger plant.
Not only does the Enduring Summer Pink Crape Myrtle love sun, it loves drier soil too, and for dry, sandy or rocky areas in full sun, it’s a great choice. It will grow in all soils that are well-drained, but avoid low-lying or wet areas, which can lead to root-rots and an unhappy bush. It does well in urban conditions, and grows on all types of soil, including clay and poor soils generally. As for diseases, you may have grown old varieties of crape myrtle, and seen ugly white powder develop on the leaves in summer. Don’t worry, the Enduring Summer Pink Crape Myrtle is resistant to that nasty powdery mildew, so the rich green leaves stay healthy and fresh-looking all summer long. As well, it is resistant to Cercospora leaf spot, a problem that begins with yellow spots on the leaves and ends with most of the leaves falling off during summer. With this resistant plant you won’t have that problem to deal with. As well, insect pests rarely bother crape myrtle, and even deer normally leave them alone. Besides removing the dead flower heads, a spring pruning is recommended. Do this in late winter, shortly before the new growth begins. Remove any dead, weak or damaged branches, and cut back the main stems by one-third, cutting just above a healthy outward-facing bud. If you want a smaller bush, you can even trim almost to the ground – the new stems will still bloom profusely.
The Enduring Summer Pink Crape Myrtle was created by Joshua Kardos, for Plant Introductions Inc. In 2009 he collected seed from a plant called `Gamad-VI`, a hybrid between Lagerstroemia indica and Lagerstroemia fauriei, which had been created by Michael Dirr, also with Plant Introductions Inc. in 2002. Kardos studied and tested the seedlings he grew, and in 2008 selected one he named ‘PIILAG B2’. Patented in 2015, it has been released as the pink-flowering plant of the Enduring Summer™ crape myrtles. For a healthy crape myrtle of moderate size, with a profusion of blooms, this is a top choice, and these plants have been well-received. Order now, because the demand is huge, but the supply is limited – they will soon be gone.