Saturday, July 13, 2013

Striking New Black Diamond Crape Myrtle

I have now seen one of the new types of Black Diamond crape myrtle in two different nurseries in my area. When I saw it earlier this year for the first time I just had to snap one up. I picked out a multi-trunked plant with three main trunks. I had no clue where I was going to put it but it was just too good to leave behind. I did finally find a place for it where its unique color plays off a nearby large accent rock’s colors perfectly. It has been so exciting to see it bloom for the first time this week.

What is so special about this plant? Its foliage is that really dark purple red that is almost black, hence the name Black Diamond. The type that I have seen in my area is the variety “Blush” which has blush pink tinged white flowers. Its tag says that it will get 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide so it will make a nice small specimen “tree” in the landscape. The tag also indicates that the bloom time and drought tolerance should be similar to other varieties of crape myrtles. After doing a bit of research online I found out that Black Diamond crape myrtles are also available in pure white and a variety of red blossom colors.

The only slight negative, that I’m guessing is because the plant is so new to the nursery trade, was the size of the available plants. Both places where I saw this plant had them available in a five gallon size but they were the smallest five gallon crape myrtles that I have ever seen. The roots did just fill the pot however so I feel that it will have an easy time of getting established in my garden. So far it seems to be adapting well and what a great show of blooms that I have on this small specimen.

If you want one of your own, the grower’s website allows you to put in your zip code and find a location near you that should have some of these striking beauties for you to take home with you.

The other thing I did a bit of research on with regard to this plant was the correct spelling of its name. Is it crape myrtle or crepe myrtle? I’ve used crape myrtle in this article since that is what is on the grower’s tag even though I have thought it was spelled crepe myrtle. It turns out that it is more likely to be spelled crepe myrtle in the south where people liken its blooms to crepe paper with most other people using crape myrtle as is found in the plant’s scientific name. It’s kind of like whether you write “gray” or “grey” depends a lot on where you grew up.

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