May 26, 2024

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Dwarf crape myrtles great for North Texas landscapes

Petite crape myrtles make a great replacement for Knock Out roses that are susceptible to disease.

Petite crape myrtles make a fantastic substitute for Knock Out roses that are prone to disorder.

Distinctive to the Star-Telegram

Our second son is about to switch 48. I was working for Texas A&M and the Extension Support when he was born. It was a fantastic cash flow with excellent gains, but I felt the need to health supplement issues by increasing nursery inventory on our driveway in Farmers Department. Just after all, I’d gotten two university levels aiming me at getting a entire world-class nursery producer. Definitely I’d eventually get around to that.

Well, the strategy of possessing my personal nursery variety of went by the boards when I commenced writing for the Star Telegram and doing work in radio, but my like for those people crops I’d been developing has never waned.

The plants I’d been increasing were being dwarf crape myrtles — the Petite sequence. I experienced bought what nurseries phone “liners.” They were being 31/2-inch pots that I immediately shifted up into 1-gallon pots. I sold the 300 vegetation much less than a yr afterwards and place that revenue towards Todd’s birth (wonderful financial investment).

Out of that experience I genuinely acquired to recognize those very little crape myrtles. They experienced been patented and released by the extremely massive wholesaler Monrovia Nursery in California in 1961. Aspect observe: In accordance to the United States Nationwide Arboretum, they were in fact hybridized by Otto Spring from Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Monrovia bought the rights to them and place a huge drive on them. I recall poring above them in the Monrovia catalog as a teenager in University Station.

The Petite collection incorporates types Petite Crimson Improved, Petite Embers (rose-red), Petite Plum (purple), Petite Orchid (dim orchid), Petite Pinkie and Petite Snow. They all increase to mature heights and widths of 42 to 48 inches with little leaves on densely branching vegetation. Like most crape myrtles, they start blooming by early June and it is not unheard of for them to have three or 4 flushes of bouquets by the time they shut up store in mid-September. There aren’t lots of flowering shrubs that give you that much display for every square foot.

So, that was the early 1960s when those came into the market. I graduated from large university and begun faculty at Texas A&M. As a junior I transferred to Ohio Point out to complete my undergraduate and Masters levels. In that Masters diploma investigate I was functioning together with one more horticulturist by the title of Michael Dirr.

Mike was (and still is) a brilliant plant man of international fame. He went on to get his PhD in plant physiology and finished up as the prime particular person at the College of Georgia Arboretum.

Dirr, a indigenous of the northern U.S., developed a fondness for crape myrtles once he moved to the South. His breeding function led to the introduction of one more major group of dwarf kinds identified as the Razzle Dazzle series. 4 are really preferred in the nursery trade: Cherry Dazzle, Dazzle Me Pink, Berry Dazzle (fuchsia colour) and Diamond Dazzle (white).

The Dazzle crape myrtles mature to experienced heights and widths of 4 to 5 ft. As with all crape myrtles, they demand whole or almost comprehensive solar. They do best when supplied remarkably natural and organic soils and when kept moist at all situations. They should really be fertilized as their new leaves are emerging in late March or April, yet again in mid-May and all over again right after the to start with spherical of blooms. They bloom on new advancement so you will want to use the exact sort of fertilizer you would implement to your turfgrass, building sure that it has no weedkiller incorporated.

There are other dwarf crape myrtles in the marketplace and I’m positive all would be properly suited to North Central Texas. Nonetheless, I do not suggest the “miniature, weeping” options with the names reminiscent of Southern Louisiana (Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Delta Blush, and so on.) for use in landscape plantings north of the Gulf Coast. These are promoted as rising only to 18 to 24 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches wide. They create mounding practices of development. They are fantastic in patio pots and hanging baskets, but my encounters developing them in the ground in the Metroplex has been that they’re not ready to survive even ordinary North Texas winters.

There is a person unique location that dwarf crape myrtles provide remarkable assistance, and that is as a substitute for Knock Out® roses that have succumbed to the incurable (at least for now) rose rosette virus. That condition has so ravaged rose plantings that folks have develop into quite discouraged. There will at some point be a do the job-all over found, but we’re not there nonetheless with roses. In the meantime, dwarf crape myrtles can occur to the rescue.

It took me many a long time to agency up that advice, but when I saw a bed of dwarf crape myrtles blooming for the second time one July, I understood they would be a great substitute. Below was my reasoning:

The two vegetation bloom for quite a few months. Roses are spring and slide, when crape myrtles are various moments over the system of the summer season.

Crape myrtles are deciduous. Roses are just about so. That signifies that you wouldn’t want to expand either plant immediately against the entrance of your house. They want to be planted in entrance of an evergreen shrub so they can “disappear” when they’re dormant.

They the two come in a range of colours. Granted, you won’t get yellow or orange crape myrtles, but you’ll get above it.

Admitted, roses are aromatic, but crape myrtles do not get rose rosette virus (or black location). Crape myrtles bring in aphids (so do roses). These dwarfs not often catch the attention of crape myrtle bark scale.

Crape myrtles are even a lot more tolerant of warm, dry weather than roses.

Is not it time you carved out a location for these very little beauties!

You can hear Neil Sperry on KLIF 570AM on Saturday afternoons 1-3 p.m. and on WBAP 820AM Sunday mornings 8-10 a.m. Be a part of him at and follow him on Fb.

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