This Type Of Fast-Growing Crepe Myrtle Will Give Your Yard A Pop Of Color

First introduced in the late 1700s in Charleston, South Carolina, the crepe myrtle is one of the most classic warm-weather trees. Its elaborate blooms have petals that float weightlessly from its canopy, creating a gorgeous show on and below the tree. Crepe myrtle bark is smooth and colorful, shedding from the previous year as it grows. Their sprawling branches, large size, and bright color make them a spectacular focal point for your yard. In addition to their summer show, the foliage on crepe myrtles turns an ombre of yellow, orange, and fiery red in fall. 

As one of the fastest-growing crepe myrtle trees, the Red Rocket can grow up to 5 feet in one year. This drought-tolerant and cold-hardy tree grows up to 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Its early-year flowers start as a light red and turn deeper into a true crimson red as they age. The Red Rocket crepe myrtle may be the tree your yard needs for an instant ruby-red allure this summer.

How do you care for a Red Rocket crepe myrtle?

The Red Rocket myrtle is unique. It adopts all the qualities of the typical crepe myrtle, like drought tolerance, but with more adaptive characteristics, such as cold hardiness. This crepe myrtle grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 through 9, making it versatile for many types of environments, handling below-freezing temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Red rocket crepe myrtles need full sun, between 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. If you plant them in a spot with less than 6 hours of sunlight, you'll have less flowering and less vibrant blooms. 

Once established, this tree is easy to care for. Because they do well in drought-like conditions, they can subsist on rainfall alone, needing little to no watering. Unlike their typical counterparts, which are susceptible to certain diseases, the Red Rocket is also pest and disease-resistant. It grows in various kinds of soil ranging from clay to sand, including soil pHs from acidic to alkaline. Unless your soil is extremely alkaline, you won't need to make any amendments to it. Fertilizer isn't necessary for this crepe myrtle, but it can help it grow faster and boost its blooms. While it doesn't need much pruning, if you do decide to, you'll want to prune your crepe myrtle in late winter and early spring. At this time, the tree is still dormant and will tolerate pruning best. 

How fast do Red Rocket crepe myrtles grow?

The Red Rocket myrtle grows remarkably fast, capable of reaching up to 5 feet per year in ideal growing conditions. Its rapid growth is perfect for anyone looking for a quick-growing addition to their garden. In comparison, typical cultivars grow between 1 to 3 feet per year. Another great thing about these crepe myrtles is their ability to show new growth in a short time frame. They can sprout new branches measuring a foot or more long in just a few weeks. For gardeners looking to add another type of similar fast-growing crepe myrtle, the Muskogee also grows up to 5 feet per year. But this myrtle has pink and purple flowers, complementing the bright red flowers of the Red Rocket.

If you're looking for a focal point to add to your landscape, to line a walkway, garden, or area around a pool, the Red Rocket crepe myrtle will not disappoint. Once the flowers have finished blooming, the petals will cover the ground below them and can get quite messy, so make sure you plant them in an area where that won't be an issue. While other crepe myrtles can suffice, none can match the resilience and adaptability of one of the fastest-growing crepe myrtles, the Red Rocket.