Crape Myrtles are a popular choice for gardeners because of their low maintenance, beautiful colors and extremely long bloom season, lasting nearly three and a half months.
Crape Myrtles are most popular in the south, gaining the nickname the lilac of the south, but are enjoyed by gardeners across the country. Their scientific term, Lagerstroemia, was coined in 1759 in order to honor Magnus von Lagerstroem, an avid naturalist. The common name in America, Crape Myrtle, is derived from the crape-like appearance of the flower and the resemblance of the foliage to the real myrtle, Myrtus Communis. This week we are featuring a hardy Crape Myrtle tree with incredible huge ruby red blooms without even a hint of pink- ‘Dynamite’ – – the truest red of any Crape Myrtle tree.
Developed by Oaklahoma’s Dr. Carl Whitcomb in 1998, ‘Dynamite’ produces abundant clusters of absolutely spectacular deep red flowers from crimson buds they will enliven your garden from mid summer until autumn. The blooms can reach 15 inches long and of course have the crape paper look that we love.
The foliage starts as a deep burgundy in the spring and changes into a dark green by the end of summer. The leaves are very large, semi-glossy very thick and mildew resistant. In the fall the foliage turns from orange to red. ‘Dynamite’ exfoliates it’s old gray bark to reveal the new light brown smooth bark underneath. Plant as a specimen tree; prune into a large multi-stemmed shrub, or plant several in a row to create a unique privacy hedge.
Planting and Care
‘Dynamite’ has a very expansive and upright growth habit and matures to a height of 20 feet. It prefers to be placed in full sun with well-drained soil and good air circulation. Dynamite requires little maintenance and does best when it is not pruned. It is also drought, disease and insect resistant once it is established.
- Plant 15 feet apart in well-drained soil.
- Prefers full sun in an area with good air circulation and good soil drainage.
- Water regularly until established.
- Hardy in Zones 6-9 (protect the first winter in Zone 6).
- Fertilize with Plant-Tone and Kelp Meal in early spring.
- When necessary, prune in spring just as the new leaves emerge