Princess Zoey™ Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia hybrid `GA 0702’
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Lagerstroemia hybrid `GA 0702’
Outdoor Growing zone
Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle is an adorable little charmer, growing 4 or 5 feet tall and fitting perfectly into any garden. The unique flower heads carry vibrant cherry-red flowers, but they are studded with brilliant lipstick pink blooms as well – a fabulous effect. The dark green leaves turn strong purple-reds in fall, and the multi-colored bark gives a fascinating winter effect. It blooms from mid-June all through September – 90 days of unbeatable color that will bring your garden beds to life. It’s also a fabulous choice for planter boxes and pots – turn your patio into a party palace.
Plant your Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle is full sun – even a little shade reduces flowering. Grow it in any well-drained soil, even poor, dry soils and in urban gardens. Avoid wet ground, and once plants are established they are very drought resistant. Pests, diseases and deer rarely cause any problems, and a simple spring trim and deadheading the first crop of blooms is all it takes to enjoy an endless display of vibrant color all through your garden.
The perfect garden would always have something beautiful to look at, and nothing beats the excitement of flowers, and how they transform a green bush into a thing of beauty. Spring and early summer flowers are plentiful, but later in the season it is much harder to keep the show going. But if you live in all but the coldest zones, the go-to for weeks of bloom through late summer and into fall is the Crape Myrtle. Since most of our gardens are smaller these days (but equally if you have large areas to fill) it’s great to have modern dwarf varieties, and among those it is hard to beat the Princess Series. Standing 4 to 5 feet tall, Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle is the perfect size to fill beds without crowding them out, or to edge a path or driveway. Blooming week after week this royal beauty is smothered in blooms, and it has something I have never seen in crape myrtles before – blossoms of two different colors. Some flower heads have flowers that are bright lipstick pink, while other heads are cherry red. It makes a great display that really sparkles – an instant bouquet. In fall the rich green leaves turn bright purple-red to finish the season with a bang. If you want a great smaller shrub for weeks of summer and fall color, here she is.
Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle is a bushy deciduous shrub, taking just a few years to reach a maximum height of 4 to 5 feet, with a spread of 3 feet. The dark, smooth, reddish-brown bark on young stems develops into an attractive winter feature – peeling strips of browns, grays and beige create fascinating patterns and camouflage tones. The leaves are 1 to 2 inches long, leathery, smooth and glossy, a mid-green when they emerge, turning rich dark green for summer, and then ending in a spectacular show of sultry purple-reds.
Flowering begins in June in most areas, and blooming lasts up to 3 months, usually ending in September or October, with a break in August. The abundant blooms are frilly and charming, with a unique papery texture, and they are carried in large heads at the ends of every new shoot. This variety has a unique look. The flowers are bright and cheerful cherry red, but scattered among them are some that are lipstick pink! There is no pattern to this, just Nature having fun. After the first flush of blooms over 4 to 6 weeks, a second flush appears a month or so later, continuing well into fall. Butterflies and even hummingbirds love to visit the blooms – a bonus attraction that kids love.
To bring summer and fall color into your shrub beds, Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle is unbeatable. It is perfect for the front of large beds, or the middle of smaller ones. But its value doesn’t end there. Plant a row along a path, or to fill the awkward narrow space that often happens between a driveway and a fence. Space plants 2 feet apart for a solid row. Plant it in the corner of a set of steps, or either side of a gate. This is also a great plant for a tub or planter box – tons of color for a sunny terrace.
In zone 6 and colder parts of zone 7, your Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle can have some branches damaged over winter. This won’t prevent blooming, as that all happens on new growth, but it will probably never grow as tall. In warmer zones it is completely hardy, and plants in tubs can be left outside all winter from zone 8. In cooler zones plant them temporarily somewhere in the garden. Crape myrtles are slow to sprout in spring – wait until you see swelling buds before trimming.
Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle should always be planted in full sun for the best blooming – it thrives on heat and sunshine. It will grow in any well-drained soil, and that includes poor, dry soils and urban conditions. Once established it is very drought resistant.
Deer, pests and diseases usually leave your Princess Zoey Crape Myrtle alone, and they are very easy to grow, needing hardly any attention. Deer normally ignore them.
You can help make the second blooming much more abundant by spending a few minutes removing spent flower heads. This dead-heading prevents energy going into seeds, and makes many more flowers. Cut back to the first full-sized leaves – new shoots quickly grow out.
In spring, once you can see buds, remove any dead wood and trim branches back a little. On older bushes remove a couple of the oldest stems close to the ground – this encourages strong new growth. Don’t trim young branches at all, this will reduce or eliminate flowering.
The crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, has been popular in the southeast for almost 250 years, but with the development of new hybrids and more compact plants, more and more gardeners are discovering how great they are. Many different people have bred new plants, and we can thank Dow Whiting for giving us Princess Zoey. Her official botanical name is `GA 0702’. Dow owns Garden Adventures Nursery outside Springfield, Missouri, and he created the Princess Series of Crape Myrtles earlier this century. They were officially released by Greenleaf Nurseries in 2013 and 2014, under their Garden Debut® brand. Dow isn’t telling us the details of his breeding, but he did a great job.
Check out our other Princess Series crape myrtles, but for my money you can’t beat the unique bi-color flower heads of Princess Zoey. For compact growth and vibrant coloring, this is one you can’t beat. The Princess crape myrtles have not received a lot of attention, but everyone who sees them loves them. Order now, word is spreading fast and they are in high demand.