‘Comanche/‘Natchez’/‘Tuscarora’/‘Yuma’/‘Zuni’

Over the last 20 years, new Crepemyrtle selections have been introduced from the United States National Arboretum that have all of the excellent qualities of L. indica, and are also highly resistant to Powdery Mildew. These hybrids were bred by Dr. D. Egolf, and have proven themselves as excellent urban trees.

Dr. Egolf bred L. indica with L. fauriei to develop disease-resistant trees that have excellent summer foliage colour, a complete range of Crepemyrtle flower colours and interesting bark colouration. Further, there are 3 sizes that were selected; semi-dwarf (to 3.5m), intermediates (to 6m) and tree-type plants (to 8m). All of these plants show ideal Crepemyrtle growth with summer flowering as well as fine autumn foliage colour.

All Crepemyrtles can be easily managed in the urban landscape. They will grow on a wide variety of soils, although all grow best in well-drained, organic soils that receive fortnightly summer irrigation. It seems that Crepemyrtles thrive in clay soils, but will tolerate sandy loams extremely well.

Although some of these cultivars will reach 8m eventual height, they can be pruned to keep to 5-6m by pruning each year or every 2 years. They can be pollarded for extra flower display.

All of these cultivars are fully Powdery Mildew resistant!

‘Comanche’

A coral-pink flowered cultivar that is the closest to a true red available in disease-resistant cultivars. Tall growing, to 5m, with peeling, tan bark. A very attractive, vigorous cultivar that will form well as an under-powerlines tree.

‘Natchez’

Probably the most popular hybrid from this breeding program, with large panicles of white flowers in November through February. This is a tall-growing cultivar, easily reaching 8m, as can be seen in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens planting. ‘Natchez’ is relatively narrow, typically to 5m broad as a mature plant. The autumn foliage colour is orange to bright red, and the bark is an even cinnamon-brown. An excellent plant.

‘Tuscarora’

A dark coral pink selection that can be trained to a single leader. Again growing to 8m, this appears to be the fastest growing of the Crepemyrtle hybrids, growing up to 2000mm per year. Excellent glowing red-orange autumn foliage colour and elegant pale brown bark.

‘Yuma’

A bi-coloured lavender flower on a 5-7m tree; excellent for growing in many situations including streetscapes. The tree will normally become round-headed, and will also have excellent autumn foliage colour. The bark is pale grey, different from many Lagerstroemia selections.

‘Zuni’

A semi-dwarf selection that should grow to 3.5m, making it an ideal plant for below verandah roofs or under power lines. ‘Zuni’ has lavender flowers borne on long panicles in mid-summer. The autumn foliage colour is a glowing dark red, and the bark is pale taupe coloured. It should not grow any wider than 3m, and can be kept to approximately 2m broad with pruning. This plant is ideal for many locations where height is restricted.

Height Diagram

Typical mature height:

3.5 to 8m

Useful in:

all uses

Sites for best growth:

fortnightly summer irrigation

Reference:

Egolf, D.R. 1991 In the pink. The American Nurseryman January 15 1991 vol. 173(2) 87-92.

The United States National Arboretum Entry

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