Enduring Summer Red Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG B5' (PP# 25,476)
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Lagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG B5' (PP# 25,476)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Enduring Summer™ Red Crape Myrtle is a fabulous shrub, making a rounded mound up to 5 feet tall and wide. It’s perfect for filling those sunny, hot, and dry spots in your garden, and it blooms continuously from June to September. The trusses of flowers are large, with up to 150 blooms in each one, and the blossoms are bright scarlet-red, standing out across your garden. The new leaves are red in spring, and then rich, glossy green all summer. In fall they turn brilliant shades of orange-red, and the seed heads and patterned bark add winter interest.
The Enduring Summer™ Red Crape Myrtle is more cold-hardy than many other crape myrtles, and it grows well in zone 6. It thrives in full sun, on well-drained soil, and it is not discouraged by poor soil, urban conditions, compacted earth, and rock or sand. This variety is resistant to both powdery mildew and Cercospora leaf spot, and deer leave it alone. A simple late-winter pruning is all you need for it to be bushy and full of blooms all season long. An easy-care plant for difficult spots.
Nothing says ‘summer’ like crape myrtles. Their big, flamboyant clusters of blooms keep coming and coming, through the heat and dryness, without a let-up. Only the arrival of cold weather stops them, and even in winter their attractive bark keeps them interesting. The ability of crape myrtles to thrive in hot, dry conditions is legendary, and they do it even on poor, rocky or sandy soil. If you want summer color in those most difficult spots, then these plants are what you need. Many of the older varieties are tall and almost tree-like, so for more compact bushes turn to the Enduring Summer™ range, which features great plants that are compact, colorful, and ever-blooming. A big favorite is the Enduring Summer™ Red Crape Myrtle, whose brilliant red blossoms beam out across the garden, and this plant stands up to everything summer can throw at it.
The Enduring Summer Red Crape Myrtle is a deciduous shrub, growing into a multi-stem plant between 4 and 5 feet tall, and as much across. The stems are dark gray-brown, and older stems peel in strips, creating attractive patterns in shades of gray, brown and dark tan. The leaves are leathery, smooth, glossy, and pointed, about 2 inches long and 1 inch across. In spring the new leaves emerge in attractive red-brown tones, adding interest and color in the early part of the season. The leaves then mature to a rich, dark green that is a perfect backdrop for the flowers, before turning vibrant oranges and reds in fall – a stunning climax to the season.
By June the first flowers will be showing, and this plant continues blooming all the way to the end of September. The flowers are carried in clusters at the ends of every new stem that grows, and a cluster has up to 150 flowers in it. The individual flowers are a brilliant deep-red throughout, creating a powerful color effect, and really standing out. The flowers open in succession, so a flower-cluster lasts around 2 weeks, with each individual flower lasting a day. The open, cup-shaped blossoms have wrinkle petals, looking just like they are made of crepe paper, which if course is why they are called crape myrtle. New stems – and new clusters of flowers – are formed continuously, so this shrub is always in bloom. As the blooms fall seed pods begin to develop, and these are round and in clusters, making an attractive showing in early winter.
Grow the Enduring Summer Red Crape Myrtle in those hot, dry spots of your garden, to brighten them and make them glow with color. Plant it at the back of shrub beds or make an attractive low screen or barrier along a fence or driveway. With its continuous blooming it brings any part of your garden to life without adding work – and it is attractive all year round.
The Enduring Summer Red Crape Myrtle is very easy to grow in zones 6 to 10. Even if there is some winter damage in zone 6, new stems carry all the flowers, so it will come back as good as new. It should be planted in full sun, and any shade will reduce the quantity of flowers produced – the more sun the better. As for soil, as long as it isn’t wet, your bush will be happy. Ordinary garden soil, heavy clay, sandy and rocky soils, it doesn’t matter, and this bush will thrive for you. We recommend that you remove the flower clusters as they fade, back to the first leaves, as seed production will reduce flower production. The last flush of flowers in September can be left untrimmed, so that you still get seed pods for winter display.
Older varieties of crape myrtle often suffer from powdery mildew, which makes an unsightly white coating on the leaves in summer. The Enduring Summer Red Crape Myrtle has been bred to avoid this disease and it is also resistant to Cercospora leaf spot, another disfiguring disease. Other pests almost never attack this tough plant, and even deer usually ignore it. In late winter, some pruning is suggested, but not essential. Remove any weak, broken or crowded stems, and trim back the main stems by about one-third, to a healthy bud. You can also cut back very hard, almost to the ground, to maintain a smaller plant.
The Enduring Summer Red Crape Myrtle is a selected hybrid form of the crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia. These plants come from China, Japan, Korea and India. The earliest plants introduced into America caused a sensation, and their heat resistance made them staples in southern gardens. Many new, smaller varieties have been created in the last few decades, and this one was developed by Joshua Kardos, an associate of the famous horticulturist Michael Dirr, and part of Plant Introductions Inc. In 2009 he gathered seed from a plant that was a hybrid between Lagerstroemia indica and Lagerstroemia fauriei, called `PIILAG-III`, which had been created by Michael Dirr in 2006. Among the resulting seedlings he found one that was outstanding, and he called it ‘PIILAG B5’. It was patented in 2016 and released as part of the Enduring Summer™ range of crape myrtles. We love this great compact bush, and its features keep it attractive and interesting all year. If you love red you are going to adore it, so order now while our plants remain available, as we know they will be gone very soon.