Dynamite Crape Myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit II'
Clusters of fiery red, crepe papery flowers nearly cover this multi-stemmed tree all summer long. Dynamite Crape Myrtle is a stunning mid-size specimen tree , perfect for medium to large gardens and is excellent when planted in mass planting.
Purchase Recommended Add-ons
The Crape Myrtle was introduced to the US over 150 years ago from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. In 1998 Dr. Carl Whitcomb developed a series of crape myrtles which brought us the Dynamite Crape Myrtle, which is a prolific producer of long lasting clusters of Ruby red flowers. Each cluster within the Dynamite Crape Myrtle produces hundreds of ruby red flowers and each cluster can range from 8” to 16” long. The Dynamite Crape Myrtle has a very broad and upright growing habit with small alternate leaves that are rounded at the base and are 1” to 2” long. The Dynamite Crape Myrtle has leaves that are dark green in the spring, bright green in the summer and in the fall they turn a vibrant orange-red. Each summer the Dynamite Crape Myrtle exfoliates its gray-brown colored bark in thin strips to expose a smooth and light brown colored bark. The Crape Myrtle Dynamite is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, very drought tolerant and has a good resistance to powdery mildew. Although crape myrtles are a staple in the Southeast United States, plants such as Crape Myrtle Dynamite are becoming increasingly common in the Northern areas such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and on Long Island. The eye-catching trees continue to enhance landscapes allowing gardeners everywhere to relish in their pure beauty.
History and introduction of Crape Myrtle:
Lagerstroemia indica, commonly known as crape myrtle, is an upright, wide-spreading, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub or small tree in the loosestrife family. It typically grows to 15-25’ tall. It is native from the Himalayas through southern China, southeast Asia and Japan, but has naturalized in the U.S. from Virginia to Arkansas south to Texas and Florida. An additional common name is Lilac of the South in reference to its popularity in southern gardens (USDA Zones 7-9). Key ornamental features include long bloom period, exfoliating bark and superb fall color. Terminal, crepe-papery inflorescences (to 6-18” long) of showy flowers with crimped petals bloom in summer (sometimes to frost) on upright branches. In the wild, flowers are typically rose to red. Cultivated varieties have expanded the flower color range to include white, pink, mauve, lavender and purple. Alternate to sub-opposite, thick and leathery, privet-like, elliptic to oblong leaves (to 3" long) emerge light green often with a tinge of red, mature to dark green by summer and finally turn attractive shades of yellow-orange-red in fall. Flowers give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter. Smooth pale pinkish-gray bark on mature branches exfoliates with age. In the St. Louis area where winter injury can be a problem, plants will typically grow to 6-10’ tall. In the deep South, plants will grow much taller if not pruned back. Straight species plants are not sold in commerce. A multitude of named cultivars from dwarf to tree size have been introduced over the years, many of which are hybrids between L. indica and L. faueri. Genus name honors Magnus von Lagerstroem (1691-1759), Swedish botanist, Director of the Swedish East Indies Company and friend of Linnaeus. Specific epithet means of the Indies in reference to native territory. Common name is in reference to the crepe-papery inflorescences and the myrtle-like (Myrtus communis) features of the bark and foliage.