Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle Shrubs for Sale Online
Moonlight Magic™ Crape Myrtle Shrubs have beautiful purple-maroon foliage that holds its color through the heat of summer. Bright white blooms are highlighted against the dark foliage in late July and August. The upright habit is perfect for use as a small tree.
About Your Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle Shrubs
Using Crape Myrtle Moonlight Magic in the Garden
Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle has beautiful purple-maroon foliage that holds its color through summer heat. Bright white blooms provide sharp contrast from the foliage in late July and August. The upright habit is perfect for a small tree. , Blooming in early summer with pure white flowers. Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle forms a rounded small tree, with a dense, full shape. The foliage emerges reddish-purple in color and eventually matures to rich dark purple, nicely setting off the bright flowers. Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle will bloom again in late summer if the first flush of flowers are deadheaded. It has excellent resistance to leaf spot and powdery mildew and is perfect to add a shot of summer color in a foundation planting or as an informal hedge.
|Mature Height:||6 to 10 feet|
|Mature Width:||6 to 10 feet|
|Classification:||Semi-dwarf tree form (6 to 10 feet)|
|Habit:||Deciduous, densely branched, multi-stemmed summer through the first frost|
|Flower Color:||Pure White flowers in mid to late summer through the first frost|
|Foliage:||New growth emerges a rich reddish purple, eventually turning dark purple|
|Soil Condition:||Any well drained soil|
|Water Requirements:||Water well until established|
|Uses:||Extremely attractive when used as a focal point in the mixed border, mass planting, or a specimen planting . Small enough for a large containers on the patio|
How to Care for Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle Shrubs
We suggest when planting your newly purchased Moonlight Magic Crape Myrtle plants that you dig a hole twice as wide as the root system but not deeper. Depending on the quality of your existing soil you may need to add a locally sourced compost or topsoil to the back-fill soil. We do not recommend using straight topsoil or compost as a back-fill soil because more times than not these products will retain entirely to much moisture and will cause the root system to rot. Adding compost or topsoil will help the young feeder roots to spread through the loose, nutrient rich soil, much easier than if you used solely the existing soil which more times than not will be hard and compacted. The most common cause of plant death after transplanting is planting the new plant to deep. That is why we do not recommend planting in a hole any deeper than the soil line of the plant in the pot. A good rule is that you should still be able to see the soil the plant was grown in after back-filling the hole. Bio-tone starter fertilizer is a great starter fertilizer that provides plants with mycorrhizae fungus. It is a naturally occurring beneficial fungus that colonizes on the new growing roots of plants. It creates a barrier between the roots of the plant and fungus and pathogens that can cause root rot. We love this product and use it on all plants we install in our own gardens. Bio-tone is a gardeners best friend and can help guarantee your success.
History and introduction of Crape Myrtles:
In the mid-1960s, the National Arboretum embarked on a crape myrtle breeding program that continues today, forty-five years later. It was begun by the late Donald Egolf, a research horticulturist whose goal was to produce disease-resistant, cold-hardy crape myrtles. In the first five years, he focused on breeding and selecting pure Lagerstroemia indica for these traits. The result was the release of six cultivars in 1967 and 1970, each named for a Native American tribe, chosen to impart a distinctly American designation to introductions from this program. Several of these selections are still widely grown today, including ‘Catawba’, ‘Cherokee’, and ‘Seminole’. Though an improvement over cultivars then available, they were to be followed by a much more important milestone in breeding and development. In 1956, a long-forgotten species of crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei) was rediscovered on the small Japanese island of Yakushima. Botanists found only one specimen on the island. Seeds collected from that tree were sent back to the United States and dispersed to arboretums and nurseries. The resulting seedling trees proved to be immune to powdery mildew, a disease that often afflicted L. indica and that the USNA breeding project had sought to eradicate. This purely white-flowered tree was less showy in bloom than L. indica, but it bore dramatic cinnamon and burgundy exfoliating bark. Egolf began hybridizing Lagerstroemia indica with the seedlings of L. fauriei. He hoped to impart disease resistance and handsome bark to the hybrid offspring, which were assigned the name L. xfauriei. What he achieved was a lasting legacy of spectacular and popular cultivars. Disease resistance, beautiful bark, and enhanced cold hardiness were imparted to these hybrids, just as Egolf had planned. Following the release of the first hybrid selections (‘Muskogee’ and ‘Natchez’) in 1978, twenty-one hybrid cultivars would be selected, named, and introduced over the next twenty-five years. Each was thoroughly tested for disease resistance, length of bloom, and cold hardiness in Washington, DC (USDA zone 7a). Later, a third cold-hardy species was added to the hybrid program: Lagerstroemia limii, a lavender-flowered species occasionally grown in western Oregon. Its large furry leaves and rough bark distinguished it from L. indica and L. fauriei. In 2003, the first two triple hybrids were released, fulfilling a long-sought goal: the introduction of truly red-flowered hybrid crape myrtles (‘Arapaho’ and ‘Cheyenne’) with disease resistance. This National Arboretum breeding program continues to use names of Native American tribes, though not all of the introductions so named are hybrids; the first six cultivars were purely Lagerstroemia indica. 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.