Red Rocket Crape Myrtle

Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit IV'

Growzone: 6-9

Flowering Red Rocket Crape Myrtle Trees

Red Rocket Crape Myrtle has clusters of ruby red, crepe-papery flowers nearly cover this multi-stemmed tree all summer long. The dark green foliage turns rich bronze-red in fall for great cool season interest.

Size Price Quantity
1 GAL 1.5-2.5' $22.95
3 GAL 4-5' $59.95
Full Description

Easy to Care for Red Rocket Crape Myrtle Tree

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 Crape Myrtle Red Rocket, which is a prolific producer of long lasting clusters of Ruby red flowers. Each cluster within the Red Rocket Crape Myrtle produces hundreds of ruby red flowers and each cluster can range from 8” to 16” long. The Crape Myrtle Red Rocket has a very broad and upright growing habit with small alternate leaves that are rounded at the base and are 1” to 2” long. Red Rocket 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 Red Rocket Crape Myrtle exfoliates its gray-brown colored bark in thin strips to expose a smooth and light brown colored bark. The Red Rocket Crape Myrtle 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 Red Rocket Crape Myrtle 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. Red Rocket Crape Myrtle is a very fast grower as the name suggests. If you are looking for a fast growing tree that makes a huge impact, this is the tree for you. Crape myrtle Red Rocket has flowers that give way to round seed capsules which often persist well into winter.

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Additional Information

History and introduction:

In 1998 Dr. Carl Whitcomb developed the Crape Myrtle Red Rocket, which is a prolific producer of long-lasting clusters of vivid red flowers. 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.