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