Princess Lyla™ Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia hybrid `GA 0804’
View more from Crape Myrtle Trees
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle is a rare dwarf bush that grows no more than 2 feet tall. It brings the vibrant colors and long bloom season of crape myrtles into the smallest garden, and makes a fabulous edging for larger beds. It is also perfect for summer-flowering containers and planter boxes. The compact flower heads form on every stem, and the flamboyant frilly flowers are a soft pink tinged with lilac. When fall comes the dark-green leaves become bright gold, and even the seed heads are attractive. With two full flushes of blooms this great little shrub is in bloom from June to September and beyond.
Full sun gives the best blooming from your Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle. Even a little shade reduces blooms noticeably. It grows well in just about any well-drained soil, including poor, dry soils and urban soil too. Even deer leave it alone, and pests or diseases are almost never a problem. Remove the tips of branches in spring – that’s it for the year. Don’t trim new growth at all, as this reduces flower production.
Most crape myrtles are small trees or larger bushes, so at first it can be hard to get our heads around the idea that a crape myrtle could be used for edging, for filling smaller planter boxes, or anywhere you need a plant under 2 feet tall. That’s right, charming Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle is never more than that, and often just 18 inches tall – she’s a petite beauty alright, but she’s just as tough as her bigger sisters. Forming a broad plant of many upright branches, each one is topped with a spray of gorgeous light pink frilly blossoms that’s as bright and light as a summer’s morning. Which of course is exactly when this great shrub blooms. Flowering for about 90 days, it produces a more-or-less continuous display of blooms that brightens your summer and fall garden like nothing else can do. Whether it’s edging a bed, growing on a slope or greeting you beside the door, you’ll be glad you took this princess in, and she will reward you with an abundance of blooms you will hardly believe possible.
Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle is a small deciduous shrub, growing quickly into a mound of upright branches just 18 to 24 inches tall. The branches radiate out to fill a space that is also up to 24 inches wide. The small leaves, 1 to 1½ inches long, are oval, leathery, glossy and smooth, and they pack closely along the stems, giving this shrub a dense look. The leaves are dark green all summer, and then in fall they turn a bold, golden yellow, adding sparkle to your late-fall display.
Flowers form in fat clusters at the end of every single branch, and the first blooms normally open around the middle of June, depending on your climate. Although the individual flowers last only a day or two, there are so many buds that it takes a month or more for a head to finish blooming. The extraordinary flowers have frilly, fluted petals that have a unique papery feel to them, surrounding a golden center of stamens. They are a delicious soft pink with pale lavender overtones, and a delicate fragrance. Like all crape myrtles, they are popular feeding sites for butterflies and hummingbirds. Flowers are followed by interesting yellow-brown seed heads, but don’t let these develop after the first flowering is over. Dead-head flower spikes as soon as the last few flowers are over, cutting back to the first full-sized leaf. This encourages a full second crop, which should begin to bloom within a month or so. With this continuous display, your bush will still be blooming in September, or even later. Let seed pods develop from the second blooming, as an interesting winter feature.
For edging larger beds, or along a path or driveway, Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle is a terrific choice. Even before blooming the healthy, glossy leaves are attractive, and that long period of summer blooming is super-attractive. The small size of this shrub also makes it perfect for filling pots and planter boxes – no need for endless season planting of annual flowers with this many weeks of blooms.
Don’t worry if you have some winter damage in zone 6 on your Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle. It will re-sprout and bloom just as prolifically, as blooms develop only on new stems. It is completely hardy from zone 7 into all the hottest parts of the country, where it really thrives. Container plants will overwinter outdoors from zone 8, and perhaps zone 7 too. In colder areas slide them out of the pots and plant them temporarily in a garden bed.
Full sun is just what the Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle needs, so avoid any shade, as it reduces blooming. Plant in any well-drained soil, and that includes poor soils and urban soils too, but don’t plant in wet ground. Once established plants are very drought resistant, and need almost no attention.
Your Princess Lyla Crape Myrtle will be free of any significant pests or diseases, and deer usually leave it alone too. Once you see the first buds swelling in spring – and don’t worry, it can be a while, especially in colder zones – then trim stems back to the first strong buds. Otherwise, there is nothing to do, but don’t trim at all in summer, as this will stop blooms developing at all.
The crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, was first brought from China, where it grows wild, to England around the middle of the 18th century. It didn’t do well in the cool and damp weather. It was only when the French botanist André Michaux brought some over to Charleston in 1769, that they thrived, bloomed and were a big hit. In the middle of last century hybrids were developed, to protect from diseases, and since then there have been many. Dow Whiting owns Garden Adventures Nursery, south of Springfield, Missouri, and he is a keen plant lover and breeder. Earlier this century he bred several smaller varieties of crape myrtle, which he named after his daughters, calling them his ‘Princess Series’. Princess Lyla is the most compact, and it is officially called ‘GA 0804’, but it was never patented. He arranged for its release to a wider public by sharing it with Greenleaf Nurseries, who released the Series in 2013 and 2014, under their Garden Debut® brand. We don’t have any details of how he developed it.
The Princess Series crape myrtles are all great garden plants – check out our others. What makes Princess Lyla so special is its small size – there are very few crape myrtles so small. Combined with its vigor and great flower color, it’s the perfect choice for easy gardening and all-summer color. Order now, this plant is always in short supply.