Miss Sandra Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia indica ‘Miss Sandra’
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Lagerstroemia indica ‘Miss Sandra’
Outdoor Growing zone
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is a small tree reaching 20 feet within 10 years, with a dense, leafy crown and upright spreading growth. All summer long it is covered in big flower heads of very large flowers, of a brilliant rich purple-violet color. It is perfect as a specimen tree on a lawn, at the back of shrub beds, in the corners of your garden or near the house. It makes a tough and reliable screen, even in hot and dry areas.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle grows best in full sun, in any well-drained soil, including dry, rocky and sandy soils. It thrives in hot, dry places, and it is very drought resistant once it is established. It was bred to have strong resistance to all the important diseases of crape myrtles, and it is very tough, reliable and easy to grow. Some pruning in late winter will keep it dense and a little shorter, if desired.
There have been a lot of new dwarf crape myrtles available recently. These often have purple leaves and relatively small trusses of flowers, and they are great foliage plants for smaller gardens and low screens. But we haven’t seen a lot of new full-sized trees, with the classic rich green foliage and big, showy flower displays all summer, that a good crape myrtle can deliver. That’s why we were thrilled to find some great plants of the Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle. This show-stopper has huge trusses of bright purple-pink to violet blooms, with as many as 250 blossoms in every truss, and with those huge heads on every stem. A tree in bloom is stunning, and this fast-growing, disease-resistant tree is perfect for a lawn specimen or planted as a row along your property boundary. Within 10 years they will be 20 feet tall, and the tight, upright habit of this tree means they will be no more than 10 feet across. Of course, you can trim in late winter to keep them smaller and even bushier if you wish.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle has an upright growth habit, with strong verticals stems keeping it neat and tight. It is fast growing, adding as much as 3 feet a year when young, and reaching about 20 feet tall within 10 years. By that time it will be about 10 feet wide. It may add another 5 feet or so in the future. The crown is thick and bushy, and unlike many older varieties the leaves don’t start dropping off in summer from disease, so that dense, solid foliage makes it excellent for shade and screening. The leaves are about 2 inches long and 1½ inches wide, with a rich glossy texture and a deep green color. In fall they turn shades of red, orange and yellow, making an attractive display.
Every branch ends in a large flower head that is 6 inches long, and each one is packed with up to 250 buds. The large flowers open in succession over a long period, and flowering lasts from June all the way into August. The huge flowers are each 2 inches across, with heavy ruffling and they are bright purple-pink to violet, with a golden center. A tree in bloom is a wonderful sight for weeks and weeks. Even the seed heads are attractive, and add some winter interest.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is a wonderful flowering specimen tree for a lawn, or at the back of your beds. Plant it in corners of your yard, or near the house, where you can admire it from upstairs windows. Planted in a row, spacing the trees 6 feet apart, it makes a wonderful screen or informal hedge, and there are several pruning options to control its size and density.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is completely hardy in zone 7, 8, and 9. It is root hardy in zone 6 as well, which means that the branches will often die back, but new stems will sprout from the base of the tree, creating a full bush at least 3 feet tall, and blooming vigorously, within the season.
Grow the Miss Sandra Crap Myrtle in full sun – even a little shade will reduce flowering significantly. It will grow well in any well-drained soil, including poor, dry and rocky soils. Avoid wet, low-lying areas. Water regularly during the first growing season – after that it will be very drought resistant.
This variety has been selected and carefully tested to be resistant to all the diseases that crape myrtles can suffer from. This includes bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew, Cercospora leaf spot, and “Rabbit Tracks”, a mysterious disorder affecting many other varieties. Insect pests are almost never a serious issue.
Pruning of crape myrtles depends on how you want it to grow. Hard pruning is not recommended, as it produces long stems that often cannot carry the weight of the blossoms. Moderate pruning when young, to develop a framework of sturdy limbs, will give the best results. Prune or trim only in late winter, before new growth appears, as summer trimming will remove the flower buds. Remove weak branches, and trim back the previous year’s growth by about one-third. Once well established and mature trimming is not needed every year.
The variety of crape myrtle called ‘Miss Sandra’ was developed at the Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, Mississippi, a division of the US Department of Agriculture. Breeders there took pollen from an older variety called ‘Tonto’, created at the National Arboretum in 1995, with good disease resistance and bright fuchsia-pink flowers. They used that pollen on an unnamed seedling with purple flowers found in San Antonio, Texas. One of the seedlings from that cross became ‘Miss Sandra’, and after 9 years of extensive trials and testing it was released in 2015.
The thorough professional testing and trials carried out by the USDA breeders means that although it is a new variety, the Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle already has a proven track record. Plant it with confidence and enjoy its wonderful blooms all summer long. This variety is highly regarded, so the demand is high – order now.
The best time to plant a Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is in early spring or fall. This allows the tree to establish its root system before the hot summer months. However, if you live in a warmer climate, you can plant it any time of the year, as long as you provide it with enough water until it’s established.
During the first growing season, you should water your Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle regularly to help it establish. After that, it is very drought resistant and will only need watering during prolonged periods of dry weather. However, it’s important to avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is quite adaptable and can grow in a variety of soil types. However, it prefers well-drained soil. It can tolerate dry, rocky, and sandy soils, making it a great choice for areas with poor soil conditions. Just make sure the soil is not waterlogged, as this can harm the tree.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle loves the sun and needs full sun exposure to thrive and produce its beautiful purple-violet blossoms. Even a little shade can significantly reduce its flowering. So, make sure to plant it in a location where it will get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
Pruning your Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle depends on your desired shape and size for the tree. Hard pruning is not recommended as it can lead to weak, long stems that can’t support the weight of the blossoms. Instead, moderate pruning when young to develop a sturdy framework is advised. Pruning should be done in late winter, before new growth appears, to avoid removing the flower buds.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is a very hardy tree and has been bred to be resistant to common diseases that affect crape myrtles, including bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew, and Cercospora leaf spot. Insect pests are also rarely a problem. However, it’s always a good idea to regularly check your tree for any signs of disease or pests.
Yes, the Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle can tolerate frost. It is hardy in zones 7, 8, and 9. In zone 6, the branches may die back in winter, but new stems will sprout from the base in spring, creating a full bush and blooming within the season.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is a fast-growing tree that can reach about 20 feet tall within 10 years. It also spreads out to about 10 feet wide. With time, it may add another 5 feet or so to its height. However, its size can be controlled with proper pruning.
The Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle is unique for its large, vibrant purple-violet blossoms that bloom all summer long. It also has a strong resistance to common diseases that affect crape myrtles, making it a hardy and reliable choice for your garden. Its fast growth and ability to thrive in a variety of soil conditions also set it apart.
While it’s possible to grow a Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle in a pot when it’s young, it may not be the best long-term solution due to its fast growth and eventual large size. However, if you choose to do so, make sure the pot is large enough and has good drainage. Regular pruning will also be necessary to control its size.