Lagerstroemia indica RHAPSODY IN BLUE

Lagerstroemia indica
Lagerstroemia indica RHAPSODY IN BLUE
crepe myrtle
SIZE/TYPE taller shrub
 small tree
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES +multicoloured:burgundy red and green
BLOOMING TIME August - September
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty) to neutral
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist but well-drained
USDA zone (lowest) 6   (down to -23°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
Summer blooms
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Crape myrtle is a flowering shrub or small tree from China. It was first introduced to the USA and the UK in the 18th century. The original plant lagerstroemia indica is too tender and not too pretty so breeders were working on further hybridization and the most attractive varieties available now are believed to be results of crossing with l.speciosa and l.fauriei. Far more important news for us is the fact that among those finished plants were selected others that survived lower temperatures than what was common in the areas of natural habitat so we have a few myrtles that can grow even in our climate. Some were selections, other consequent hybrids.

Carl Whitcomb is one of the most important breeders of crepe myrtles with exceptional features, of which we particularly appreciate increased hardiness. He owns and runs a research station Lacebark Inc. in Stillwater in Oklahoma, USA, whose USDA zone is the same as warmer parts of Central Europe (7a), which offers great potential for our climate. He has been breeding crepe myrtles for over 40 years, and his very first patented success named Whit I dates back to 1996. He created a series called Oklahoma Tough® which manifests the hardiness of his plants – it often reaches as low as -25 °C (root-hardy). He does not exclusively crossbreed hybrid varieties, but mostly proven varieties of the botanical species l. indica using ethyl methane sulfonic acid methyl ester (EMS), which can penetrate DNA and cause mutations, resulting in significant quality changes in the new generations. Carl Whitcomb focused on selecting those with, in addition to improved beauty, better health and flower sterility which makes possible repeat flowering without exhausting the plant with seed production.

RHAPSODY IN BLUE is an attractive crape myrtle variety from the Play It Again® series introduced in 2022. The series comprises of varieties with double flowering on the same panicle and in a few cases dark foliage as a bonus. RHAPSODY IN BLUE bears deep purple flowers with mauve hues against a background of dark green leaves with dark maroon tones on fully insolated branches. Full sun and a warm location are absolutely essential for colour saturation. The flowers are arranged in upright panicles 8-12 cm long, in Central European conditions they appear (depending on the quality of the summer) from about mid-August, and if the plant has enough nutrients and sunny and warm weather, while the first flowering flush is near its end new flower buds are beginning to form on the same panicle, which significantly extends the flowering period until the end of September or October. The leaves are deciduous, oval, highly glossy and turn orange and red in autumn. They are more resistant to powdery mildew than those of the botanical species. RHAPSODY IN BLUE forms upright shrubs or small trees with dense canopies.

Crepe myrtles naturally form V-shaped shrubs or multi-stemmed trees. You can leave them to their own devices or train them into a spectacular multistems: when your plant reaches a height of around two meters you can start removing lateral branches from the lower parts to shape it into an elegant multi-stemmed tree. Mature trunks produce a beautiful pattern similar to that on planetrees, with several shades of brown, green, and beige. When the trees shed leaves and trunks become bare the display of these coloured trunks of crepe myrtles is usually the best.

Crepe myrtles need little care. They need full sun with zero shade during the day. Grow them in well-drained soil that should be kept moist before the plant is fully established. If cultivated in acidic soil the plant will make fabulous colour play of autumn foliage. Crape myrtle needs heavy mulching in winter and some mulch in summer to retain moisture. Fertilize it in spring to encourage growth (nitrogen-based fertilizers), and in summer to encourage flowering (phosphorus-based fertilizers). RHAPSODY IN BLUE has not yet been tested in all possible climates but has so far proved wood-hardy to -18 °C. It is expected to be similarly hardy like its parent surviving about -20°C in the wood and root-hardy to some -25 °C (USDA zone 6). In case of standard trees hardiness is limited by the rootstock hardiness, always look for details about used rootstock as l. indica is hardy to only about -17 °C irrespective of the grafted variety hardiness.

Last update: 23-09-2023
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view item form pot size quality price (incl. VAT) where in stock sending options quantity
Lagerstroemia indica height 50-60 cm, width 20-30 cm
Lagerstroemia indica podnož indica do -17°C height of stem 130-140 šk 20-30
De Luxe

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Lagerstroemia indica
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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