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Plant Profile: Apalachee Crapemyrtle, Lagerstroemia indica × fauriei ‘Apalachee’

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'Apalachee’ has light lavender flowers. Photo by Gary Knox

‘Apalachee’ has light lavender flowers. Photo by Gary Knox

‘Apalachee’ crapemyrtle is a statuesque small deciduous tree with lavender flowers, dark green leaves and cinnamon-orange bark. Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Apalachee’ is one of the hybrids released in 1987 from the breeding program of the U.S. National Arboretum. It grows as an upright to vase-shaped, multi-stemmed tree in USDA Cold Hardiness Zones 7a-9b. 

 

Seed capsules of ‘Apalachee’ add winter interest. Photo by Gary Gnox

Seed capsules of ‘Apalachee’ add winter interest. Photo by Gary Gnox

Seed capsules add unexpected winter ornament to the leafless branches of the deciduous tree. Because individual flowers are packed tightly in the flower panicle, the seed capsules are correspondingly closely spaced. Persisting seed capsules add interest to the tree’s profile similar to the way dried flowers of oakleaf hydrangea continue to add interest long after the flowers have faded. 

Crapemyrtle grows and flowers best in full sun with rich, moist soil but is tolerant of drought and all but wet soils. ‘Apalachee’ has good resistance to powdery mildew, very good resistance to cercospora leaf spot and moderate resistance to flea beetle (Altica sp.). This hybrid is susceptible to crapemyrtle aphid. ‘Apalachee’ performs best with minimal pruning. Crapemyrtle is best located away from pavement and structures that may be stained by fallen flowers.

 

Cinnamon-orange bark of ‘Apalachee’. Photo by Gary Knox

Cinnamon-orange bark of ‘Apalachee’. Photo by Gary Knox

‘Apalachee’ grew to a height of 26 feet and a width of 21 feet in 15 years at former University of Florida facilities in Monticello, Florida. It was one of the most outstanding crapemyrtles in that evaluation planting. This crapemyrtles’ form, vigorous growth, dark green leaves, lavender flowers, cinnamon-orange bark, and persistent seed capsules give it year-round appeal and allow it to stand out among crapemyrtle cultivars.

 

Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Apalachee’ has not yet been evaluated using the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas. Without this assessment, the temporary conclusion is that Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Apalachee’ is not a problem species at this time and may be recommended.

 

 

 

 

‘Apalachee’ crapemyrtle in full bloom. Photo by Gary Knox

‘Apalachee’ crapemyrtle in full bloom. Photo by Gary Knox

 

 

2 Comments on “Plant Profile: Apalachee Crapemyrtle, Lagerstroemia indica × fauriei ‘Apalachee’

  1. I love crepe myrtles of any kind. I guess it reminiscent of my grandmother’s gardens. In southwest Florida she never cut back our crepe myrtles and they were more like the last photo in bloom.

    However, here in the Panhandle everyone does what I my sister and I call crepe murder, cutting the trees back. I want to know what is really appropriate. I’ve always said this was improper, but I notice that the trees that are cut this way to appear more healthy and vibrant each spring.

    I’ve moved to a home that has several varieties and the older ones are not doing well (blooming profusely) but I’m afraid it’s because I have refused to cut the trees, I just trimmed them a little.
    Thanks for your help.

    • The sort of trimming known as “crape murder” will not ensure the long term health of the crapemyrtle. Those repetitive cuts will allow disease and rot to enter the tree. Older cultivars might be in too much shade and not blooming to their full potential. They may also be suffering from powdery mildew, scale or sooty mold. Thinning of the interior of the tree may help. See this publication on crapemyrtle pruning for more information.

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