Raspberry Sundae debuts as the newest crape
myrtle in Hampton Roads.
The new red crape myrtle variety features flowers that are raspberry red with a touch
of white; flower buds are crimson. Fragrance is nice and noticeable.
The plant is sterile, producing very few seedpods.
"This is great because it increases flower production, and reduces the need for
deadheading," says Bill Kidd of McDonald Garden Center.
Raspberry Sundaes growth habit is upright and columnar, reaching a mature height
of 20 feet. The foliage features crimson new leaves that change to bronze, then to dark
green. Fall color is orange. The plant is very drought tolerant.
Crape myrtles which bloom for almost 100 days grow best and flower
profusely in full sun. They tolerate most soil conditions but need water during droughts
for best flowering.
Mildew appears on crape myrtles grown under stressful conditions. Powdery mildew
a grayish-whitish powder that forms on leaves tends to attack the plant when its
air movement is restricted or the plant is put in part shade.
Crape myrtles need February pruning to remove only diseased, crossed or rubbing
branches. Interior pruning allows light and air to penetrate the plant, helping to reduce
disease and pest problems.
The plants are not meant to be pruned back to mere stubs. In fact, crape myrtles flower
best when they are not pruned in winter. If you need a small crape myrtle for a tight
space, choose one of the smaller-growing varieties widely available at local garden