Review Of Delta Crape Myrtle Series

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This article provides a review of the Delta Crape Myrtle Series
by Brett · All Zones · Trees · 0 Comments · June 26, 2014 · 9,933 views

When many gardeners think about crape myrtle they tend to think about trees or shrubs that have light to dark green leaves and produce abundant clusters of bright colored flowers during the summer. But, then, in 2010, the Southern Living Plant Collection introduced the first of the Delta Series Crape Myrtles...and everything changed.

As with other crape myrtles the Delta's pack a punch in the landscape when they become clothed with an abundance of brightly colored flowers during summer. But what's most unique and unusual is the foliage. The leaves of Delta crape myrtles emerge a coppery bronze in spring, then turn to a deep dark maroon during summer, and finally turning to orange in fall. What's more, the leaves hold their deep maroon color throughout the warm season with absolutely no fading.

Similar to Japanese maples, the deep burgundy-maroon foliage and fine texture of Delta crape myrtles set them apart in the landscape from other plants with less-refined foliage. All Delta crape myrtle varieties are dense, multi-stemmed, shrubs or small trees that grow 8 to 10 feet in height with a 6 to 8 foot spread. This semi-dwarf size lends itself well to smaller garden spaces where taller varieties won't fit, and also makes them suitable growing in large containers, which can be situated on decks, patios and around other outdoor living spaces.

Planting & Care Tips6 year old Delta Jazz Crape Myrtle

Delta Crape Myrtles are cold hardy in USDA Zones 7a-9b however I'm hearing some folks further north say they're having success with them in Zone 6. That being said, they haven't been tested for too long in zones further north so plant them at your own risk anywhere above USDA Zone 7. As with other crape myrtle the Delta's are relatively low maintenance. Here's some basic planting and care tips.

Pruning: When grown as a shrub, the Delta's do not require pruning. However, if you want to grow them as attractive small trees, which is what I prefer, they'll require some pruning. The best time for pruning is late winter or early spring, when the threat of extreme cold has passed. SEE: How To Prune A Crape Myrtle

Feeding: I feed crape myrtle one time a year in early spring with a slow-release organic plant food, however any well-balanced shrub and tree fertilizer will do. Follow instruction on product label for application rates.

Watering: When established, crape myrtle are very drought tolerant, only requiring supplemental water during an extended summer drought. During the first season after planting, in the absence of sufficient rainfall or automated irrigation, water enough only to keep the soil damp or moist but not soggy. Constantly wet feet can cause problems with the roots.

Planting: Crape myrtle prefer a well-drained moist soil and as much sun as you can give them. Too much shade will result in diminished blooming. SEE: How To Plant A Crape Myrtle

Landscape Uses

All of the Delta varieties can be grown in the garden or in medium to large size containers, which can be placed on decks, patios, porches, around the pool, and in other outdoor living spaces. Though they can be grown as shrubs with no pruning necessary, I think they are much more attractive as small trees, which can be used as eye-catching focal point specimens in landscape beds and home foundation plantings, in clusters or groupings, or in straight or curved rows as a colorful hedge.

Companions

The deep burgundy foliage and fine texture of Delta crape myrtles contrasts beautiful with many other landscape plants with less vibrant color and less refined texture. That being said, I often combine them with brightly colored shrubs or groundcover plants that have a lighter foliage color. You'll find links to the following plants below this article: Sunshine Ligustrum, Kaleidoscope Abelia, Gold Mound Spirea are a few shrubs that have bright golden foliage which contrasts wonderfully with the deep burgundy-maroon foliage of the Delta crape myrtles. Variegated Liriope, Blue Rug Juniper, Stella De Oro Daylily, and Ice Plant, to name a few, are excellent groundcovers for underplanting. Just make sure that whatever plants you use as companions are hardy in your USDA Zone.

Varieties

The Delta Series is now comprised of four varieties. All have the same dark burgundy-maroon foliage with flower color distinguishing the plants.

Delta Jazz
Delta Jazz, developed by researchers at Mississippi State University, was the first of the Delta series, introduced in the spring of 2010. What impresses me most about this introduction is the striking contrast between the bright pink flowers and the dark burgundy leaves. Unlike some other dark-foliaged plants, the foliage retain that dark color very well under our brutally hot summers. Flowering appears to be fairly continuous from about mid-June to as late as early October.


Delta Flame
A new introduction to the Delta series, Delta Flame bears bright red blooms that contrast vividly with the unique, dark burgundy, cupped leaves.


Delta Eclipse
A new introduction to the Delta series, Delta Eclipse bears very showy, brilliant lavender-pink blooms that contrast vividly with its unique, smokey, dark burgundy, cupped leaves. Flowers appear in abundance from early summer to late summer. The foliage emerges coppery-bronze in spring, then turning to dark burgundy for summer and finally to orange in fall!


Delta Moonlight
A new introduction to the Delta series, Delta Moonlight bears showy white blooms that contrast vividly with the unique, dark burgundy, cupped leaves. White is always a soothing color in our hot Georgia summers!


You can buy Delta Crape Myrtles online at Gardener Direct




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