Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle
Lagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG-VIII' (PP#27,194)
Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle
Lagerstroemia hybrid 'PIILAG-VIII' (PP#27,194)
How are the heights measured?
All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.
What is a gallon container?
Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.
How does the delivery process work?
All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!
Why are some states excluded from shipping?
The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.
The Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle is a wonderful tall shrub that brings both foliage color and brilliant flowers to your garden. Before blooming begins in June you can enjoy the rich purple-red foliage. Then the bold, coral-pink blooms begin, and last right into September. They look great against those leaves, which keep their color all summer, and won’t become shabby or drop, because this plant is disease resistant. Reaching 16 feet tall, it is ideal to plant as a specimen on a lawn, at the back of a bed or for screening.
- Rich purple-red foliage never fades or turns green
- Brilliant coral-pink blooms from June to September
- Great tree for a specimen or screening
- Immune to powdery mildew and leaf spot
- Root hardy, and blooms prolifically, in zone 6
A bright, sunny spot will give you the best colors and blooming with the Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle. It is resistant to both powdery mildew and Cercospora leaf spot. Deer ignore it and other pests are virtually non-existent. It can be pruned in spring, or left to grow naturally, and pruning can be used to keep it lower. In zone 6 the branches may die back, but it will sprout from the base and flower freely as a compact shrub.
- Plant Hardiness Zones 6-9
- Mature Width 8
- Mature Height 16
- Sun Needs Full Sun
Purple or red foliage is always a big hit in the garden, making a bold splash and adding lots of interest and color. Sadly, especially in warmer zones, those colors can start of big and bold in spring, but over summer they easily turn dingy greens, and many, such as purple-leaf plums, lose a lot of leaves in heat and humidity, leaving them sad, bare and dejected. If this sounds like your experience, or if you are new to gardening and want reliable, attractive purple foliage all summer, then the Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle is for you. Not only does it keep its rich color through the hottest weather, it is covered in stunning coral-pink blooms for months. Drought-resistant and disease free, you can’t go wrong with this great plant. You can even enjoy it in zone 6 as a compact flowering shrub.
Growing the Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle
Size and Appearance
The Twilight Magic Crape Myrtle is a tall, upright deciduous flowering tree, reaching as much as 16 feet in height, with a spread of up to 8 feet wide. It is fast-growing, adding as much as 2 feet of new growth each year, so you won’t be waiting long to see it in its full glory. As the main stems age they develop very attractive bark patterns and coloring, with shades of tan, brown and gray showing as the bark peels in strips, revealing new layers underneath. This is an especially valuable feature in winter.
The leaves are elliptical, about 1½ inches long and ½ wide, with smooth edges and a smooth, satiny surface. They emerge a wonderful deep purple-pink color, darkening to richer purple, and to a very dark purple in fall. The color is held well, making this a great ‘color-splash’ feature plant.
Flowering begins in June in warmer zones, and continues right into September, and what gorgeous flowers they are. Each stem ends in a cluster of buds, and these open to unique ‘crepe paper’ blooms of a wonderful coral pink. They really glow against the dark background of the leaves, creating a very rich effect. Each flower lasts a day, but there are so many buds in a cluster that each one blooms for two weeks. No sooner are the last flowers falling from a cluster, but new shoots have come just below them, carrying more blooms, so the party never ends.
Using the Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle in Your Garden
With its substantial size this shrub is perfect for background planting in your shrub beds. Grow a specimen on a lawn, or against a blank wall or fence. Plant a row for screening, which you can trim annually to keep more compact, if you wish. You can even plant it in large tubs or boxes, where it will thrive for years.
The Twilight Magic Crape Myrtle is completely hardy in zones 7, 8 and 9. In zone 6 it is root hardy, which means that even if the branches are killed back it will re-sprout from the ground. New stems will reach 3 tall by fall, or more, and because this plant blooms on new shoots, it will bloom reliably.
Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions
Full sun will always give the best results with the Twilight Magic Crape Myrtle. Even a little shade will reduce blooming and soften the leaf colors. Well-drained soil is essential for good growth and winter survival, with sands and gravels giving good results. It’s a great choice for poor soils of any kind, but on clay soils plant on a mound, or a slope.
Maintenance and Pruning
Unlike many older varieties of Crape Myrtle, this one is very resistant to both powdery mildew and Cercospora leaf spot, so the leaves stay fresh and healthy all summer, with no dusty mildew and no dropping leaves – and of course, no spraying needed. Insect pests are rare and hardly ever a problem. It is also unlikely to be bothered by deer.
You can leave the Twilight Magic Crape Myrtle to just grow as it chooses – it is naturally bushy and dense, so it’s going to look just great. Or, you can prune it in spring. Don’t trim when it is in leaf as this will reduce flowering. You can keep it tidy and encourage more flowers by removing the spent flower heads once the last petals have fallen. To prune, do this in spring before the new leaves develop. You can remove weak or damaged branches, and then cut back the remaining stems by about one-third, or you can go further, cutting back almost all the stems that grew the year before to just a few inches long. This will create a smaller, very bushy plant, so you can choose the form and size you want.
History and Origin of the Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle
Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, has been a feature of southern gardens since 1786, when André Michaux, a plant explorer and botanist to King Louis XVI of France brought it to Charleston from England, where it has been a big flop. Brought from China in 1759, it was just too cold and wet in England for it to bloom much at all. Once in the South it thrived and bloomed profusely. However, disease was always a problem, with plants often looking shabby by late summer. Since those early days we have disease-resistant varieties, and colored foliage too, instead of plain green, so that these plants look great right from the moment they begin to sprout. The Magic Series is right at the top, with a whole range of flower colors set off by dark purple leaves. These plants were created by Michael Dirr, one of America’s greatest plantsmen, and his team at Plant Introductions, Inc. Watkinsville, Georgia. They collected seed from one of their earlier dark-leaf varieties called ‘Chocolate Mocha’ and grew many seedlings. In 2012 they selected one, with rich foliage and powerful coral flower color, and patented it in 2016 as ‘PIILAG-VIII’. It joined the series as Twilight Magic™. It is made available as part of Bailey Nurseries’ First Editions® range of modern garden plants.
Buying the Twilight Magic™ Crape Myrtle at The Tree Center
Our plants are produced under license and they are identical to that special seedling found by the team at Plant Introductions. These plants are totally different from common crape myrtle, and vastly superior. Such a great-looking and easy-care plant is always in high demand, so order now, before our stock runs out.