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Raspberry Sundae is a sweet treat for your yard

Raspberry Sundae debuts as the newest crape myrtle in Hampton Roads.

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Raspberry Sundae

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 Sundae’s 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 centers.

August 2001

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Roger Bullivant


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