Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Lagerstroemia 'Arapaho'

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - The Panicle Inflorescence.
'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - The Panicle Inflorescence.

The ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle is another succesfull result of the plant improvement project, which took place in the U.S. National Arboretum under the guidance of the agronomist – researcher Dr. Donald Roy Egolf.

It is a robust hybrid, with excellent gardening characteristics and long-lasting rich flowering, with dark red of magenta flowers that cover almost the entire bush.

It is not very demanding in care and is easily cultivated in various environments, even in urban areas – in the city center.

…But more about this particular hybrid of Lagerstroemia will be said next in this (?) article.

The Lagerstroemia ‘Arapaho’ cultivar can be pruned, and easily takes the form of a tree.

Lagerstroemia 'Arapaho' Blooming Tree
Lagerstroemia 'Arapaho' Blooming Tree
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'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - General Elements

The basic characteristics of ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle, together with some concise identifications, are given immediately below.

Facts in Short

Family: Scrophulariaceae

GenusLagerstroemia

Scientific Name: Lagerstroemia (indica × fauriei × limii) ‘Arapaho’

Common Names: Arapaho Crepe Myrtle, Lagerstroemia Arapaho, Crepe Myrtle Arapaho

Plant Breeder: Dr. Donald Egolf – U.S. National Arboretum, 1989

Features

‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle is also one of those Lagerstroemia hybrids that has a high powdery mildew resistance and is a creature of the U.S. National Arboretum.

The history of its creation is quite interesting, since it begins with Lagerstroemia limii, which was cultivated from plant seeds received from the Botanical Gardens of Shanghai, China.

The Lagerstroemia limii (NA46513) proved to be resistant to mildew, but neither its flowers nor its bark showed any particular aesthetic value. Thus, in 1986, began the process of hybridization with Lagerstroemia fauriei, Lagerstroemia indica and the hybrid Lagerstroemia indica x Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Tuscarora’, under the direction of Dr. Donald Egolf.

In 1996, a seedling were selected for further evaluation and finally, in 2003, the ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle hybrid was officially registered with the International Registration Authority for Cultivated Lagerstroemia.

The ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle has dark red of magenta flowers, it is extremely resistant to powdery mildew, and as a shrub acquires large dimensions.

Its height varies between 7 and 8 m (23-27 ft) and its diameter is between 3.5 and 4 m (11.5-13 ft), while according to U.S. National Arboretum at the age of 13 years its dimensions will be respectively 6 and 3 m (19.5 and 9.75 ft).

Lagerstroemia (indica × fauriei × limii) ‘Arapaho’

Flowers and the Yellow Anthers of Lagerstroemia 'Arapaho'
Flowers and the Yellow Anthers of Lagerstroemia 'Arapaho'

This hybrid of Crapemyrtle is suitable for:

  • Specimen
  • Mass plantings
  • Informal hedges
  • Urban plantings
  • Pots & containers

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Morphological Elements

The ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle is a perennial, woody, deciduous multi-stemmed shrub, easily formed in a small tree.

It has a broad, vase-shaped form, with a symmetrical crown, while it has a medium texture and a solid, upright habit.

The ‘Arapaho’ shrub has a fast growth rate (0.9-1.5 m per year / 3-5 ft per year) and almost the same size as the typical species.

Lagerstroemia (indica × fauriei × limii) ‘Arapaho’

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Botanical Description

Branches

The branches are covered by greyish-brown bark which is relatively smooth. As in almost all varieties and hybrids of Lagerstroemia, is exfoliating, revealing a bright brownish or gray inner bark.

Shoots & Twigs

The plant develops from the base many well-branched shoots, which are growing upright. Their color is initially dull brown-red but when mature takes greyish-brown hues.

Leaves

The leaves are glossy, elliptic to obovate, 6 to 7 cm (2.3- 2.75 in) long and 3 to 4 cm wide (1.1- 1.6 in). Initially, they are bronze, then mature they get a dark green color and autumn become red-purple to maron.

Flowers

The flowers are broughted in the annual shoots tip on a conical inflorescence of 15 to 17 cm (6-6.8 in) in length and 8-10 cm (3.1-4 in) in width. They are abundant, their color is deep red to red magenta, while yellow anthers emerge from their center.

Flowering is continuous and the blooming period is long, with a duration of about 90 days, starting in July and ending in late September.

Lagerstroemia (indica × fauriei × limii) ‘Arapaho’

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Panicle and Leaves
'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Panicle and Leaves

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Environment of Establishment

Temperature

The overground parts of ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle is less tolerant to cold than them of typical species. Its resistance to low temperatures ranges from -12 to -15 °C (10.4 -5 °F), while under of them it disappears. However, the resistance of the root system is greater, as it withstands low temperatures up to -21 °C (−5 °F), without suffering the slightest damage.

With this in mind, it is recommended to avoid tree formation or planting of the tree-like ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle close to the minimum temperature limits of the above ground parts.

With high temperatures it does not face particular problems, as long as the plant is not allowed to "thirst".

Soil and pH

In terms of soil, it can be cultivated in a variety of types, but thrives in heavy loam to clay soils, which are cool and drain, while in terms of soil pH to those with a variation of between 5 and 6.5.

Exposure

As for the exposure, it is recommended to always be planted in sunny places – as it is the case with all other cultivars and varieties of Lagerstroemia.

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Care

The Lagerstroemia cultivars resulting from the improvement work in the U.S. National Arboretum, generally belong to the ornamental shrubs that do not need special care, apart from the basic ones.

Fertilization

Applying fertilizer in the first fortnight of March, April and May will be beneficial for the plant.

The recommended type of fertilizer for the first application is 20-10-10, ie the one that contains Nitrogen in a greater proportion than the other two main elements – Phosphorus and Potassium, while for the other two the 8-8-8 type of fertilizer.

Indicatively, it is mentioned that the total amount of fertilizer for all three applications for a fully developed ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle shrub is 150 to 200 g.

Irrigation

With regard to irrigation, young plants should be well watered when the surface soil at a depth of 1 to 2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) has dried out.

However, once plants are establised, watering may be minimal, since the tolerance of ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle to drought is great.

Plant Protection

From diseases, both leaves and flowers are completely resistant to mildew and therefore do not require spraying.

Otherwise, cercospora leaf spot can be sometimes a major problem, while aphids as well as Coleoptera Altica spp. (medium resistance) and Japanese Beetle Popillia japonica (moderate sensitivity) may infest the plant.

By using the appropriate formulations, they are effectively managed.

Lagerstroemia (indica × fauriei × limii) ‘Arapaho’

'Arapaho' Crape Myrtle - Use in Garden and Landscape

The ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle is utilized in a variety of ways:

  • It is easily formed into a tree
  • In its tree form it can be planted on sidewalks contributing to its shade and rich flowering
  • While withstands the harsh atmosphere of cities, it is suitable for planting in urban gardens, parks and squares
  • In gardens along with other ornamental shrubs, such as Abelias (Abelia x grandiflora ‘Edward Goucher’), Lantanas (Lantana montevidensis), Nandinas (Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’) and Spireas (Spiraea japonica)

References

The References to the article ‘Arapaho’ Crape Myrtle – Lagerstroemia ‘Arapaho’, are alongside presented by the voice of an unknown singer who sings a traditional song of Arapaho with the English title Ghost Dance.

With Pomp and Circumstance

In each one of the Lagerstroemia hybrids created by the U.S. National Arboretum, was given the name of a native Americans Tribe. The Arapaho Tribe is one of them, and Ghost Dance a traditional song of hers, on a rare recording.

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