Showy flowers and attractive bark have earned crapemyrtles a top slot in many gardens, especially in the southern U.S. where it's hard to find a street without one. If you adore these attractive trees but are ready to step away from the crowd, you'll find everything you need in the Black Diamond crapemyrtle collection: nine incredible varieties that are guaranteed to thrill. Unique Black Diamond Beauty Many crapemyrtle cultivars offer generous, long-lasting blooms, but Black Diamond Blooms and J. Berry Nursery, breeders of the Collection, take the word "ornamental" to a whole new level with the newest "crapes" on the block. The blooms are just as gorgeous, the colors as vibrant, but the revolutionary dark foliage ratchets up the wow factor in a way you won't believe until you experience it. When the foliage appears in spring on Black Diamond crapemyrtles, it grows in a flawless black. And it stays black, without fading, through the first frost. The dark stems and leaves provide a dramatic backdrop to the brilliant color of the jewel-tone flowers, as masses of blooms appear in early summer and keep lighting up your garden through autumn. Meet the New Crapemyrtle Royalty The hardest thing about selecting crapemyrtles from the Black Diamond collection is choosing among them. Each of the nine varieties grows to 12 feet (3.7 m.) tall and 8 feet (2.4 m.) wide, but offer its own special magic. For example, several varieties boast red blooms, but their growth habits vary somewhat. Red Hot offers a more upright tree-form habit while Crimson Red, with its stunning crimson flowers and bright yellow centers, tends to be bushier. Best Red wins your heart with blood-red blossoms growing right between tree-like and bush form. In the mood for pink? You can choose Blush with masses of frothy soft-pink blooms or Shell Pink for darker, coral flowers. Mystic Magenta has gorgeous magenta blooms. Or go for Lavender Lace, Purely Purple or Pure White. Easy-Care Container Plants You'll fall in love with the Black Diamond cast of crapemyrtles for their abundant and generous beauty, but you'll also find them delightfully easy to grow. All tolerate heat and drought and resist typical crapemyrtle pest problems, like leaf spot and powdery mildew. No matter where you live, you can use Black Diamonds as thrilling elements in a container garden or even as standalone specimens in a pot of their own. Since these crapemyrtles have a naturally compact habit, they work well in decorative pots on your deck, porch or balcony. Make sure each pot is at least 12 inches (30 cm.) in diameter. In chillier regions, you'll just have to offer them protection in the winter.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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