Moonlight Magic Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG-IV' (PP#25,478)
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Lagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG-IV' (PP#25,478)
Outdoor Growing zone
The Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle brings a unique blend of pure white flowers against dark purple leaves, in a sturdy upright large shrub growing to 12 feet tall, if untrimmed, Even in spring it is beautiful, with bold dark leaf coloring, instead of boring green leaves. That rich purple-red foliage stays richly colored throughout the summer and right up to leaf drop. The flowers begin in early summer, and continue until the first frost, looking vibrant and sophisticated against the contrast leaves. Use this tree as specimen in a lawn, behind shorter plants, or as an informal screen or hedge. With spring trimming it can be maintained just 6 or 8 feet tall, and still flower profusely for months and months.
Grow your Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle a sunny place, and it thrives even in poor, dry soil, once established. This tree thrives in hot locations, even near the sea, as it is salt-spray tolerant too. It has been specially bred to be resistant to both powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases, so those beautiful leaves will always look glossy and clean, even in heat and humidity. It has no serious pests, and it grows rapidly. To keep the plant shorter and bushier, prune the stems from the previous year back to just a few inches long, in early spring, before new growth begins. For a taller plant, simply remove the tips of the branches. Removing spent flower clusters will encourage continuous flowering for months and months.
Purple-leaf foliage is a great addition in any garden, adding interest and color for months and months. The richness of color creates vibrant contrasts with the greens of your other plants, and it makes blooms almost unnecessary. The purple-leaf plum is a popular classic choice, but in many areas these plants have disease problems, with the leaves falling in summer, leaving a less-than-attractive plant just when you want your garden to be at its best. In recent years a superior alternative has become available for that tired old purple-leaf plum, in the form of new varieties of crape myrtle with vibrant, all-season purple foliage. These tough plants are disease resistant, and they stay attractive through even the hottest and most humid weather. Plus of course, they have a long blooming period throughout the summer. A fabulous choice for a large shrub or small tree with this powerful purple foliage is the Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle. This new variety has proven to be reliable, drought and disease resistant, and it features beautiful pure-white flowers too.
The Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle starts the year with bold foliage in spring. The leaves are glossy, 2 inches long and 1 inch wide, and produced densely along the stems. These grow rapidly upwards to form an upright, rounded crown. Flowering begins in late July, and continues until at least the end of September, and often into October, depending on your growing zone. The showy flowers are carried in large clusters at the ends of the branches, and each cluster stays in flower for around two weeks. As it fades it is rapidly replaced by new flowering shoots, so your plant will be in bloom continuously. The flower clusters are rounded, and about 5 inches long, containing many individual flowers. These are rich purple in bud, and open pure white, so that the open flowers contrast strongly with the buds. The white flowers really stand out against the purple foliage, and they make a beautiful contrast that will brighten your garden and blend with all other flower and foliage colors.
One of the largest of the purple-leaf crape myrtles, this plant, reaching 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide, is an ideal small tree for a smaller garden, or a large shrub if you have plenty of garden space for a variety of plants. Because it brings both colored foliage and months of vibrant contrasting flower color too, it is ideal if you only have room for one or two larger plants in your garden. Grow it as specimen in a lawn or patio, as a row along a boundary or for screening, or plant it as background to smaller shrubs. You will find many perfect spots to grow such a colorful and easy plant.
The Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle is hardy in zones 7, 8 and 9. It may also grow in zone 6, but with some winter damage, and re-sprout from the roots. It will grow 4 to 6 feet tall in the season when this happens.
Full sun is best for good results. Reduced flowering and greener leaves will be the result of growing it in the shade. Any well-drained soil is suitable, and once established this plant is drought tolerant and reliable even in hot, dry places.
You can encourage continuous bloom by removing spend flower clusters as the last flower falls. Cut back just to the first leaf – new shoots will soon emerge and bloom. Stop doing this in early fall, so that you also get a crop of those handsome seed pods. You can trim your Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle in late winter or early spring, before or at the same time as new growth emerges. To keep a smaller, more compact form, trim hard, cutting the previous-years growth back to just a couple of inches. For a larger bush, just remove the top section of the branches, and any broken or weak growth. Do not trim new shoots, as this will delay or prevent flowering, which happens on the ends of new branches.
The Midnight Magic Crape Myrtle is the product of careful breeding by experts in creating new varieties of ornamental plants. This plant was created in 2010 by Joshua Kardos, a breeder with Plant Introductions Inc. He used an earlier dark-leaf crape myrtle, ‘Chocolate Mocha’, developed in a state-financed breeding program at Mississippi State University. Kardos collected seed from this plant, grew it, and found the plant he called ‘PIILAG-V’ among the seedlings. Seeing its unique and valuable properties, he patented it in 2015, and it was released by Bailey Nurseries under the trademarked name of Midnight Magic™, as part of their First Editions® plant line.
Skilled growers take stem pieces of these plants, with licensed permission of the patent holder, and grow them into the sturdy bushes we will ship to you. These plants cannot be compared to common crape myrtles, and you will love the vibrant contrast of pure white flowers against that deep purple foliage. This vigorous plant is always healthy, and resistant to common diseases. At the Tree Center we specialize in the best crape myrtles, and our limited stock will not last long. Order now while we can satisfy your order – you won’t regret it.