The southern climate is the perfect setting for a low-maintenance tree. The Cherry Dazzle Crape Myrtle lines fences, home gardens, and hangout areas because of its beautiful red blooms, dwarf stature, and moderate care requirements.
Cherry Dazzle Crape Myrtles can tolerate adverse conditions such as drought, pests, low temperatures, and different soils. They are at their prime bloom from early summer to fall. You can keep it in its best shape and full color by light trimming and pruning in winter.
Lagerstroemia ‘Cherry Dazzle’ Crape Myrtle Profile
The table below summarizes Cherry Dazzle’s profile.
|Names||Cherry Dazzle, Dwarf Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia Indica, crepe flower.|
|Size||Height: 5 ft, Spread: 5ft.|
|Soil type||Fertile, Moist, well-draining.|
|Soil pH||Prefers a slightly acidic, neutral, or mildly alkaline pH (5.5-7.5)|
|Water||Moderate watering depending on the season.|
|Sun exposure||Full sun to partial shade.|
|Bloom time||Summer, Autumn|
|Flower color||Cherry Red|
|When to prune||Winter|
|Root system (type)||Shallow and fibrous|
Origin and names
The Cherry Dazzle (Lagerstroemia indica) is a flowering shrub that originates from the Himalayas, South China, and parts of the Korean Peninsula where it grows in the wild. Americans, especially those living in the South, love growing them and consider the plants as a representation of summer, considering the species blooms during the entirety of summer into the start of fall.
The species is also known by other names such as the Dwarf Crape Myrtle, Gama I, Red Rocket, and its botanical name (Lagerstroemia Indica)after Swedish botanist Magnus von Lagerstroem.
Plant experts occasionally use the word “dwarf” when describing the cherry dazzle, but the plant is not exactly short.
A mature plant can reach an average height of 3.5 – 5ft and have a relative spread of about 5ft. Flowers grow in small clusters averaging about 4”- 6” per cluster. The plant grows in a dense bush-like shrub that can grow considerably unless regularly pruned.
The thin bark is about 2mm thick and elongated from the center stalk that extends from the roots.
Blooms and foliage
Crape Myrtle produces bright red flowers that can last for several weeks or months, depending on the prevailing conditions. The species is also popular for its glossy green leaves that complement the plant’s unique aesthetics.
Cherry Dazzle flowers typically appear during summer and can last through fall until the first frost to indicate the onset of winter. The plant has deciduous traits and experiences leaf fall during the autumn months through winter. Most flowers also fall during this time of year, and the foliage turns from a glossy green to burgundy red before dropping.
Cherry Dazzle plants are generally thought of as slow-growing. However, you can only consider it a slow grower compared to other crape myrtle plants.
Newly propagated Cherry Dazzles take about a month to form roots and adapt to their new conditions. They grow considerably faster once settled in. Cherry Dazzle Crape Myrtles grow actively during the spring and summer, where it produces numerous leaf buds along its entire stalk during spring and flowers during summer.
Additional factors such as temperature, soil type, pH, nutrient quality, and growing zones can also affect the plant’s growth rate. Outdoor cherry dazzle crape myrtles also have a faster growth rate than similar indoor varieties.
How to grow and care for Cherry Dazzle crape myrtle
Maintaining a Cherry Dazzle crape myrtle requires regular care. Here are some ideal ways to grow and care for a cherry dazzle crape myrtle.
Spacing when planting
Cherry Dazzle plants can readily become dense bushes if improperly spaced. The plants have a shallow, horizontal root system that allows the plant to spread over a wide surface with relative ease.
Spacing requirements largely depend on the gardeners’ preference. For instance, the grower might consider spacing the plants much closer if they’re looking to use the plants as a short border fence than when looking to grow each plant individually.
Different varieties have varying spacing requirements. It’s essential to consider an individual plant’s width variations before planting your plant. For instance, you should plant plants with a 3-ft spread three feet away from each other.
Note: Growing details are usually available on the packaging, or you can ask your vendor for the information.
Its also recommended to dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the plant while planting. The aim is to loosen the soil and allow the roots to grow and spread freely.
Cherry Dazzle species can tolerate various light conditions but prefer growing under full or partial light. The species requires at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sunlight to remain healthy and vibrant during its active growing phase.
It’s advisable to grow the plants in open spaces such as lawns and gardens where the shrub is free from obstructions from fences, buildings, and tall trees. Excessive shade inhibits the plant’s ability to form new flowers, which might negatively affect your plant’s aesthetics.
Besides, inadequate light exposure exposes some sections of your plant to pests and unhealthy conditions such as powdery mildew and sooty blotch. However, one of Cherry Dazzle’s key strengths is its resistance to powdery mildew.
Soil type and pH
Crape Myrtle plants can tolerate different soil types but often prefer growing in moist, well-draining soils with a slightly acidic to mildly alkaline pH of about 5.5 – 7.5.
Highly alkaline soils can negatively affect the plant’s health and may cause leaf discolorations, failed blooms, and premature leaf fall.
Conduct a pH test on your growing medium before planting your shrub. You can also take a soil sample to a lab facility and test the soil pH and other nutrient qualities to determine the best fit for your plant.
Crape Myrtle water needs vary depending on the plant’s age, season, and soil type.
Young Crape Myrtle plants require watering every 2 -3 days immediately after planting for about one or two months.
After two months, you can gradually reduce your watering rate to about once a week. Ensure that the soil is dry before adding water.
It’s also advisable to use about 2-3 inches of organic mulch to conserve and maintain soil moisture, especially during the warmer months when the temperatures are high.
Reduce your watering during autumn and winter as the plant is not actively growing. For excessively cold areas, cover delicate sections of your shrub to prevent “cold snap” and freezing.
Mature Cherry Dazzle Crape Myrtles can tolerate drought and might only need watering a few times a month.
USDA hardiness zones
Cherry Dazzle Crape Myrtle grows well under the USDA hardiness zones 7-9, uniform with the plant’s native temperate and subtropical climates.
The shrub does well on open grass plains, forest edges, low-altitude cliffs, and other habitats where conditions are warm and mild during winter, and retain adequate rainfall throughout the year.
Pruning your crape myrtle is essential in maintaining a healthy cherry dazzle tree. The pruning season happens from mid-winter to early spring when the plant is at its dormancy phase.
Pruning methods partly depend on the shrub’s shape and size. Pruning height is subject to the plant’s size. For single trunk plants, it is advisable to prune all lateral branches 1.5ft -2 ft. If the trunk has more than one branch, ensure you leave about 3-5 lateral branches and prune the rest.
Reduce the stalk density by pruning the overcrowded stalks to allow aeration and ventilation. As a general rule, remove unhealthy or dead stalks early to reduce the chances of fungal and bacterial infections.
While pruning is a sure way of promoting your plant’s bloom and health, excessive pruning can negatively harm the plant in growth and visual appeal.