Lagerstroemia Black Diamond 'Red Hot' = Lagerstroemia 'Ebony Embers'

From across a plant-crowded expanse, my eyes met his foliage...
The neurons pinged, the synapses zinged.  Love at first sight.  Resistance was futile.
 Some i-net perusing revealed 'Black Diamond Red Hot's original name is 'Ebony Embers',  and is a Lagerstroemia indica hybrid developed by Dr. Cecil Pound of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.  Your tax dollars at work.  How about that?  Wise use of tax dollars! 

'Ebony Embers' is not patented:  anyone can propagate and sell it.  It is being sold by Black Diamond under the name 'Red Hot'.  The name 'Red Hot', is trademarked and copywrited;  only Black Diamond can use that name to sell it.  Anyone can use the name 'Ebony Embers'.  
Golly I hope it lives.  I saw it at the big box store where I stopped to buy a toilet brush.  I've grown wary of fabulous plants for sale at big box stores.  I recall a particular Chorizema 'Bush Flame' that looked so spectacular and died so quickly. 

How would it look underplanted with Dichondra 'Silver Falls' and black Aeoniums? This must be love--I'm having fantasies!
 What about with silvery Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' nearby?
 I am determined not to get attached, lest the glorious thing die on me.  No, of course I have no idea where I'll put it.  Trees make bad impulse buys, but...love finds a way. 
With silver Maireana sedifolia:
I even remembered to buy the toilet brush, too.  

Comments

  1. Wow! I think I need to start cruising the big box store garden centers more often. Another blogger recently commented about getting a 1-gallon Caesalpinia at HD, a plant I never see at my local garden center in anything but huge containers at exorbitant prices. I think your new Lagerstroemia would look great with any of those lovely silver companions you're considering.

    BTW, I bought Chorizema 'Bush Flame' at a very reputable garden center (one I know you also frequent) and it petered out and died on me too. I don't know what that plant wants but my garden obviously didn't deliver either (and I bet I paid more for the privilege of killing it than you did with your big box store purchase).

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    1. Have not seen anything interesting at a big box for quite a while. Hence my interest was strong when something did appear.

      Well, speaking of that very reputable garden center, the Dorycnium hirsutum is near death after a week or two in the ground. I liked that plant...too hot for it, I guess. Perhaps some of the seeds will sprout...

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    2. Oh no! I checked my records and found that mine were planted in the 1st and last quarters of the year so maybe this is just a bad time of year to get them established. However, while my plants have expanded significantly in size, they produced only a handful of blooms but lots of seedlings. I dug up a couple for a friend a month or so ago and she lost them - I'm going to allow some of my other seedlings to bulk up so I can pass some plants along later when the weather is more hospitable.

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  2. Speaking as one who has bought trees as impulse buys...glad you did it! Imagine how much you would be thinking about it (and possibly regretting it) had you not. It's a beauty!

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    1. Well, I'm happy it's here, and several possible spots for it. :)

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  3. No point hesitating if you loved it at first sight. Saves you time for going back to get it :)

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  4. Had nearly the same experience at a local orange-themed, bootstrap-fiddling boxstore this past weekend. Root system was surprisingly vigorous, not terribly pot-bound, and that foliage is just heart-breaking.

    But we've got a few local parkways tricked out with babby specimens of 'Black Diamond' and with understories of Aloe marlothii and those dwarf and mounding heavenly bamboo cultivars (the ones that look like pumpkins when the cool weather prevails), and there's something about the red flowers within that (incredibly uninspiring) palette that irritates me. I think that's my entire objection to cre/ape myrtles: beautiful bark, handsome low-maintenance habit on most of the commoner varieties, look good with drought and heat, manageable size, but the flowering season can last forever and I'm just not keen on those flowers. And it's a shame because truly black foliage seems to blister in this climate (Agonis flexuosa 'After Dark,' just about any black- or deep purple-leaved pittosporum) or turn powdery (Ceanothus x 'Tuxedo', all those dark-leaved dahlias).

    I'm wishing you luck with this one. From what I've seen of them as teenage, multi-limbed trees, it should be a great success, and please do exploit that silver-and-black thing you're contemplating here. Great idea!

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    1. Thanks for the report on the 'Black Diamonds'--you give me hope of success. In the back of my mind the new Lagerstroemia is a replacement for an 'After Dark' that split in the main trunk in several places--the branches were too heavy for the young trunk, perhaps. I miss that tree very much. The foliage had no problems here--nor do the dark foliage dahlias.

      I'm pro-Lagerstroemia because it's a more rationally sized tree which attracts non-gardeners because of the flowers. Love the gaudy flowers--I never claimed to have good taste!

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    2. I'd forgotten about your 'After Dark.' My only first-hand knowledge of them is the original incarnation of The Frontier Project, out near my neck of the woods, where three failed in their second year (replaced by a pair of Platanus racemosa, not the most logical solution), combination of heat and naturally weak limbs, I think. The cultivar is very fussy, I've heard.

      Anyway, no, you've excellent taste and always turn out something quietly sophisticated using material I'd normally think of as loud. (I'm always doing loud when I'm aiming for rustic, so this is a problem I understand intimately.) I'm really looking forward to seeing you play with it. Question for you, considering your success with potable and non-potable water management this warm season: are you risking planting it out now, or is it going into a pot until fall?

      Also, and now I'm just picking your brain, how did you fare during the 1997-98 cool season? Are you worried about any erosion this winter?

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    3. Thanks for that link!

      I was thinking of trying 'After Dark' again, but this time keeping the branches nipped back short, until the trunk strengthens. Someone was selling a dark dwarf version with another selection name, supposedly better, but I didn't buy it quick enough, and it's disappeared since then.

      I will likely place 'Embers' out front with the 'Dynamite's, but that involves clearing out a big clump of Agave augustifolia, some of it bloomed out. I've started working on the big, terrifying project of doing that, so the 'Embers' must stay in a pot until then, attentively watered.

      Did not grow Lagerstroemia in 97-98. Alert to the issue of erosion, certainly, but poking around the slopes, there are roots; and I will be monitoring.

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  5. I knew there was a reason (other than obsession) that I peruse the big box garden center whenever I'm there -- hoping to find something half as good as this!

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    1. I look regularly, but buying has tapered off dramatically. It's good to see what's being offered and its condition. Here there's been a BIG shift towards xerics at the big boxers. Just hope people understand they need water to establish.

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  6. I had no idea black-leafed crepe myrtles even existed! What beauty. I'd buy it in a heart beat if I had the space. Too make it doesn't come as a dwarf--say 4 ft tall :-).

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    1. I'd seen them on the internet. In person, I grabbed!

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  7. That is a beautiful plant! Back in May when we visited the area, I briefly considered stopping in at one of the big box stores, just to check out what the so-called common stuff that they sell might be. No doubt it would all be deliciously different from the common stuff they stock up here in the PNW. Next time I will do it! Of course crepe myrtles are iffy here.

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    1. Here they are gradually becoming more and more popular. I'd never seen one before about 15 years ago. I guess in the south they are so common as to be a cliche

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  8. Beautiful plant. I have no doubt you will find the perfect place for it. Then just cross your fingers and toes.

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    1. I'll plant it before crossing all the digits, otherwise I won't be able to hold the shovel. ;^)

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  9. I nearly caved when I saw this at the local big box. The foothills are loaded with crepe myrtles but locally, not so much. I wonder if we don't get enough heat? I may go back and bring one home. Who says we can't grow trees as summer annuals?

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    1. Ah, I wasn't the only one tempted!

      They need enough heat to prevent powdery mildew. We get the merest touch of PM here, so just warm enough.

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  10. What a hunk! And the flower color looks almost orangy-red on my screen- am I deluded?

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    1. Handsome indeed! I think it is red-red--waiting for a flower to open.

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  11. I'd have gotten home and walked around trying the plant in different places in the garden, then realized I'd forgotten the toilet brush. Kudos to you!

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    1. I got the brush first, which is why I didn't forget!

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  12. Whew! Nice one. It's always the way with those stores, you go in for one thing and tell yourself you'll just *look* at the plants. I love that Maireana sedifolia - is the foliage furry/squishy to touch, or succulent? Or none of the above. I'm intrigued. I think I saw it online and mentioned it in a post back when I was looking for info on Maireana oppositifolia (in fact I just checked, and I did! Gosh, you have all the cool plants!)

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    1. Huh? I thought it was you with all the cool plants. The Maireana foliage is kind of squishy/succulent on very hard woody stems (blackish, with blue veins!) Great plant, love it. Have cut it to the ground several times and it grows back all fresh, too. It's the only Maireana I think we can get here, so c'mon, you are still way ahead!

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  13. Love the dark foliage, and with the silvery plants... [swoons].

    Ran to the blue big box on Saturday for a new kitchen faucet, and saw a huge sign: "Australian Outback Plants." 'Moon Lagoon': right there, five gallon pot, $23 IIRC, and I'm still kicking myself that I didn't grab it. There were two. Surely gone by now. Got the kitchen faucet, and I love it, but...

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    1. The blue big box had 'Moon Lagoon'?!?. Well, #^%&*(*^!!!!!

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  14. Love at second sight has now struck me. I've been wanting a crape myrtle but most (even the ones with red in their name) are some variation on pink when they bloom. I had nearly decided to settle for 'Natchez', but this one has it all! Thank you! Thank you! Now if I can only find one. Oh, and that last photo is the combo for me.

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    1. I saw these last year when wandering the internet and "needed" one, but figured it would never show up here. To see it at a big box was a big surprise. I also have 'Dynamite', which is unquestionably red--though I do think without sufficient summer heat the red ones can pink up, for sure. They are happiest with summer heat, unlike both of us!

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  15. Love this crepe myrtle! I have half a dozen in various locations, about three years old. They grow more slowly than my other varieties, but are more resistant to aphids. They are tough - its 105 (literally) and they don't wilt or brown out.
    The flowers are a true deep red, not orange. I put some photos on my latest post if you want to see.

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    1. Thanks for your experience with this one. Off to see your photos!

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  16. NEED. Where did you get this beauty?

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  17. Well, I just had to buy two of the white ones. I was going to get "Red Hot," but they didn't look as healthy. When I got home, my husband asked me if I remembered to buy the water filter for the refrigerator . . . umm, no.

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    1. The only color I saw was the 'Red Hot'. If there had been other colors I think I would have gotten them also. I think the white will be awesome and dramatic! Fridge filters--they will be there tomorrow, and the day after that.

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