Crape Myrtles are great plants for warmer areas and over the years many different varieties have been produced by plant breeders. They make beautiful small trees that can be controlled by pruning and they will produce large bunches of colorful flowers in summer and through fall right up to the last frost. They are easy, drought-resistant, trouble-free plants that belong in every garden warm enough for them to grow in.
The Tuscarora Crape Myrtle is especially showy and its bright pink flowers bring lots of color to the summer garden, when many other shrubs have finished flowering. It has been specially bred to be resistant to the unsightly powdery mildew that often disfigures other Crape Myrtles and detracts from their beauty, so this plant will be gorgeous all the time.
If you live in cooler areas of the United States and have always admired the Crape Myrtles of the South, this tree can be grown throughout zone 6. There it will die back in part during the winter but it will rapidly re-sprout in spring and by summer be at least 6 feet tall and covered in blooms. It can be grown behind other flowering Perennial plants and will flower with phlox and other late-flowering Perennials. With some protection in winter it can even by grown in this way in most of zone 5, so this plant can be grown across almost all of America.
Growing Tuscarora Crape Myrtle Trees
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle is a rapid-growing tree that can grow as much as 10 feet a year from an established plant. Newly planted bushes will grow 3 to 6 feet in their first year. Crape Myrtle is known for its drought-resistance and ability to flourish in hot, dry, exposed places and even in spots with only a little soil available. It has no important pests and it is also deer resistant, so it can be planted anywhere.
Size and Appearance
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle will grow as a tree with several trunks, or it can be trained to have a single trunk. It will grow to at least 20 feet if left un-pruned, but it can be controlled to 12 or 15 feet with annual pruning each spring. The large bunches of coral-pink flowers are produced for 2 to 3 months and if they are removed as they fade more will often be produced. The leaves are thick and leathery and grow about 3 inches long. In fall the leaves turn yellow, orange and red and Tuscarora makes a particularly beautiful fall display, since some other varieties just turn yellow.
Tuscarora also has especially beautiful multi-colored pale bark which falls in strips to reveal fresh, mottled bark beneath. In zone 6 and especially in zone 5 most of the top-growth will die over the winter, but strong new shoots will grow up from the base and form a 6 to 10 foot shrub, which will flower in late summer and into the fall. Once new shoots are seen in spring, you should remove the dead branches back to those new shoots.
Choose a sunny spot for your Tuscarora Crape Myrtle. It should be planted in well-drained soil and not in a low-lying area of your garden. It is perfectly hardy in zones 7 to 9 and will grow well in zone 6 and even 5, although some of the branches will die in winter, so it will not grow so tall in those regions. It is important when planting Crepe Myrtles not to plant any deeper than the containers they are in and not to cover the roots with a lot of soil. So dig a hole two or three times wider than the pot, but no deeper. Place your plants in the hole, replace most of the soil and firm it well down. Then water thoroughly and replace the rest of the soil, being careful not to cover the roots with any extra soil.
History and Origins of the Tuscarora Crape Myrtle
The common Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was first brought to Charleston, South Carolina around 1790 from its natural home in China and Korea. It thrived in the warm climate there and has long been a symbol of summer in the South, with its vivid blooms. There have been many color forms produced by plant breeders, but the problem of mildew has always been an issue for gardeners.
The Tuscarora Crape Myrtle was developed in 1981 as part of a program at the National Arboretum, Washington D.C. to breed new Crape Myrtles with resistance to mildew. It has proved since then to be perhaps the most mildew-resistant Crape Myrtle available, so if you live in an area where you see this problem then this is the variety you should definitely be growing.
Buying Tuscarora Crape Myrtles at The Tree Center
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle is such a special plant that only the exact plant will have the right color and growth rate. So it must be produced directly from trees absolutely known to be right. Our trees are grown the correct way, from branch cuttings of these special trees.That way every tree is identical to the original one. However these take longer to produce, so avoid cheaper, seedling trees that will only be a disappointment.
We sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.