Purple Magic Crape Myrtle: Care Guide

Purple magic is a prevalent crape myrtle species in the Southern states. It is known for its vibrant purple flowers blended with red-tinted foliages, dramatically changing to waxy green in summer. The purple magic crape myrtle has excellent resistance to powdery mildew, leaf spot disease, and deers.

The growing zone and media are the most fundamental requirements for successfully growing purple magic crape myrtle in your landscape. In an ideal growing environment, you will only need to water and feed it appropriately to make this summer beauty flourish.

Lagerstroemia ‘Purple Magic’ Crape Myrtle Profile

NamesLagerstroemia’ purple magic’, the lilac of the south
Size6-10 feet tall, 6-10 feet wide
Soil typeWell draining
Soil pH5.0-6.5
WaterModerate
Sun exposureFull sun
USDA zones6,7,8,9
Bloom timeSummer
Flower colorPurple
When to pruneLate winter or late spring
Root system (type)Shallow fibrous roots

Origin and names

The crape myrtle is native to southeast Asia, China, and Japan. The purple magic is among the magic series of the crape myrtle developed in the 1960s for more cold-hardy and disease-resistant species. 

These varieties have naturalized in the southern states of the USA. Due to its color and popularity in the south, the purple magic crape myrtle is also known as the lilac of the south.

Size

The purple magic is a semi-dwarf variety of the crape myrtle plants. It grows primarily as a rounded shrub, dense on the sides and fuller in shape. A mature purple magic shrub extends between 6-10 feet tall with the same width size.

Blooms and foliage

The purple magic crape myrtle is a perfect shrub whose flowers stay around several weeks after blooming.

In early summer, the shrubs display vibrant, vivid purple flowers while the foliages appear tinted-red. It exhibits deep purple flowers in mid-summer, while the leaves gradually change to glossy green. The flowers can stay around for the rest of the blooming season. However, reblooming can occur in late summer if deadhead flowers are pruned to produce fresher magnificent purple flower clusters.

The colorful flower clusters usually attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies to the garden in summer.

Growth rate

The purple magic crape myrtle has a fast growth rate, with newly planted cuttings or divisions establishing in weeks. Their shrubs develop new shoots fast, over one foot after a few weeks. 

This crape myrtle species is your best bet when you want to add gorgeous color to your garden within a short span.

How to grow and care for Purple Magic crape myrtle

Crape myrtle varieties are straightforward to grow and need reasonable care to keep them healthy. Proper watering, feeding, and location make the shrub thrive. 

Below are the best ways to care for your purple magic crape myrtle shrub.

Spacing when planting

The purple magic crape myrtle can be grown as a flowering hedge in mild winters or a foundational planting. It can also be planted solely in gardens to create a focal focus. Proper shrub spacing during planting is vital to fulfilling the purpose it’s grown for. 

Plant your purple magic at least 9 feet from each other or other trees. Proper spacing allows the leaves and branches spread evenly without crossing each other.

Light

The crape myrtle varieties require full sun for massive flower production and healthy growth. 

Plant your purple magic crape myrtle shrub in a location with at least six hours of full sun exposure daily. Meanwhile, partially or fully shaded areas are unfavorable as they significantly reduce flowering and deteriorate the plant’s health.

Soil type and pH

The purple magic can thrive in loam, sand, clay, and silt soil. However, the growing media should be well-draining and remain relatively moist for healthy plant growth.

Adding 2-3 inches of mulch around the plant but a few inches from the stem can help retain moisture for the shrub. The best type of mulch is hardwood or cypress mulch since they feed the plant as they decompose.

The soil should also be slightly acidic, with a 5.5-6.5 pH range.

Water

The purple magic crape myrtle requires moderate water to thrive after establishing since it’s drought and heat resistant. 

Irrigate young unestablished shrubs at least once weekly until they root. The soil should remain relatively moist but not soggy or completely dry.

Water the unestablished shrub only when the top 2-3 inches of topsoil is dry. Also, rinse the plant occasionally in summer to enhance the flowering of mature shrubs.

USDA hardiness zones

The purple magic crape myrtle shrub thrives in USDA hardiness zones 6-9, where the minimum winter temperature range is -5oF to 30oF.

The table below summarizes the states within USDA hardiness zones 6-9 where the purple magic shrub can comfortably survive.

USDA zoneStates
6New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Connecticut, Missouri, Alaska, and Kansas. 
7New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Idaho,  Massachusetts, West Virginia,  North Carolina,  Tennessee, Alaska, New York, Oklahoma, Nevada, Missouri, Utah, and Washington D.C 
8Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oregon, Washington, Florida, and Alabama,
9Arizona, Florida, California, Texas, Oregon, and Nevada.

Pruning

The purple magic crape myrtle is a mid-sized variety, usually tended as a small, dense shrub. Over time, it forms an uneven or undesired shape, and suckers develop at the base of the plant, requiring pruning.

Pruning is recommended to remove the suckers and extended leaves for a more uniform and attractive shape. Pruning also removes the deadhead or faded flowers to encourage second blooming when the plant is actively blooming in mid-summer.

Prune your purple magic crape myrtle shrub in late winter or early spring when it’s dormant. Avoid pruning before the first frost of fall since the plant will be forced to remain active for new growth development. However, cut dead stems or branches at any time of the year.

When pruning, only cut the overextended leaves and branches, which create an uneven shape in the shrub.

Sterilize your cutting instruments before, during, and after pruning.

References

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