Continuing along with my spotlight on plants with winter interest, let’s take a gander at a Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle, fine small ornamental tree for your garden.
Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle – Lagerstromia indica x fauriei ‘Tuskeegee’
Category: Bark and Berries
I love crape myrtles. Some might call them the South’s foremost small ornamental plant. They can be tall and showy, like ‘Natchez’, with its huge white flowers and gorgeous peeling, cinnamon colored bark. Or small and showy, like ‘Pocomoke’, a dwarf variety. If you want a plant that stands out, plant some kind of crape myrtle.
Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle is one of the best for accenting a winter landscape. As one of the famed Indian series, it thrives in almost all site conditions. It can withstand the brutal heat of zone 10 South Florida (one of few crape myrtles that can), as well as frigid Northern climes (to around zone 6A).
Growing Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle
You can train Tuskeegee as a single or multi trunk specimen. It will reach a mature height and spread of 15′ to 20′, perfect for a patio tree. Red-tinged leaves appear in spring, turning a deep green with the onset of summer. Flowers are dark pink, and blooms last about 100 days.
In fall the leaves begin to turn, until you’re greeted by a canopy awash in orange-red flame. Its multi-stemmed, horizontal branching habit and smooth, peeling bark lend it an outstanding aspect in winter.
Grow Tuskeegee in full sun or part shade. Once established, its water needs are moderate, but the tree doesn’t like long periods of little water. One thing Tuskeegee is particular about is soil conditions. It loves rich, acidic soil, and may suffer chlorosis (leaf yellowing) in alkaline conditions.
Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle is a good tree to grow in the city, being highly tolerant of urban pollution. Use Tuskeegee as a focal specimen plant around a patio or front walkway, or group 3 to 5 in massed plantings. They also work well in mixed borders.
What Makes Tuskeegee Crape Myrtle a Good Winter Tree Choice?
- Great red-orange fall color
- Open, horizontal branching habit that creates a sculptural look when the leaves fall
- Extremely showy mottled tan bark
- Good cold hardiness
On Deck: Stripe Bark Maple