The U.S. National Arboretum, located in Washington, DC, has created some outstanding varieties of trees and shrubs and they have particularly excelled in the development of new crapemyrtle cultivars. One of the standout varieties is called 'Catawba', or Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba'. The first and most dramatic thing about this crapemyrtle is the colour of the bloom, it is officially described as violet-purple, and is unimaginably rich, not to mention unique. There is no other tree’s bloom that has quite this color, and, being a crapemyrtle, the bloom is not just a smattering, and not just for a week, but weighs down the branches from mid-summer to fall. But 'Catawba' has even more going for it than bloom. It has bright, red autumn foliage  to make a great end of season show. And, for winter interest, the smooth and sinewy trunk for which crapemyrtles are so noted. And finally 'Catawba' only grows to about 12 feet tall, a size easily accommodated by any garden.

If there is any drawback to crapemyrtles it is that some are prone to mildew, but not 'Catawba', which is noted for its resistance. Like all crapemyrtles, it will do best in full sun. It's not fussy as to soil type as long as it drains well. 'Catawba' prefers long summers and mild winters which makes it successful in Australia and across the southern half of the US. It should do well in the warmest parts of the UK and New Zealand as well.

Catawba crapemyrtle


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