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Red Rocket vs Dynamite Crape Myrtle: What Is The Difference?

Red-blooming trees are a magnificent sight, and this is exactly why many people opt for crape myrtles.

The Red Rocket and Dynamite Crape Myrtles are both popular choices for adding vibrant color to a garden. The primary difference between them lies in their flower color and size. The Red Rocket Crape Myrtle features deep red flowers, while the Dynamite Crape Myrtle is known for its bright cherry red blooms. The Red Rocket tends to have slightly larger flower clusters compared to the Dynamite.

Red Rocket vs Dynamite Crape Myrtle

Red Rocket Crape Myrtle and Dynamite Crape Myrtle

Red Rocket Dynamite 
Hardiness zone 6-9 6-9
Mature height 20-30′ (6-9m) 20-25′ (6-7.5 m)
Mature width 15-20′ (4.5-6m) 10-15′ (3-4.5m)
Growth rate fast fast
Light exposure full sun full sun
Soil moist, drained moist, drained
Soil pH 6.0-7.0 6.0-7.0
Watering one time per week in a drought one time per week in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects

Red Rocket has larger flower clusters

A key distinction between these stunning trees lies in their flower cluster sizes. The Red Rocket boasts impressively long flower clusters, measuring 22-24 inches. Its petals have a unique, wrinkled texture, adding to its charm. In contrast, Dynamite has flower clusters that are around 16 inches long, giving them a rounder appearance.

In terms of visual impact during bloom, the Red Rocket tends to stand out more, thanks to its lush and voluminous clusters. Despite their length, the clusters don’t appear sparse as they’re packed with a greater number of flowers, ensuring a rich and full display.

Red Rocket grows faster

The Red Rocket crape myrtle is known for its rapid growth rate, potentially adding up to 5 feet each year. At full maturity, it can reach a height of 30 feet and spread out 15-20 feet in width.

This growth is typically seen under ideal conditions, including favorable climate, regular watering, and proper fertilization. In colder climates or with less moisture, its growth may slow down.

On the other hand, Dynamite grows at a slower pace, about 3 feet per year. This means its growth rate is nearly half that of Red Rocket. By the age of 10, these varieties will differ in size, with Dynamite being smaller. However, over time, Dynamite catches up, and their sizes eventually become comparable.

Choosing the “best” between these two depends on the gardener’s preferences. Some may prefer the quick growth and immediate impact of Red Rocket, while others might favor Dynamite’s more compact size and slower growth.

An additional note: In its early years, the Red Rocket tends to grow more vertically, with branches reaching upwards more so than Dynamite. But as they mature, their growth habits become more alike.

They have different colors

The red flowers of these two crape myrtle varieties exhibit distinct shades and characteristics. Let’s explore these differences.

Starting with Dynamite, its flowers are a vibrant red with scarlet or fiery undertones. Each flower is accented with visible yellow stamens at the center, which beautifully contrast with the red petals.

In contrast, Red Rocket features red flowers with a cherry hue. This cherry tint may not always be prominent, but it is often noticeable. The stamens in Red Rocket are tiny and mostly obscured by the petals, giving its flowers a more uniform red appearance without a yellow center.

One minor drawback of Dynamite is its sensitivity to weather. In cloudy and cooler conditions, its flowers might not maintain their bright red hue and can appear slightly pink. Red Rocket, however, is more consistent in retaining its color, regardless of the weather conditions.

Dynamite blooms longer

Red Rocket typically starts blooming in early July, and with sunny, warm weather, it might even begin a bit earlier, towards late June. Its flowering period lasts around two months, concluding at the end of August or early September. After this, the flowers dry up as the plant readies itself for winter.

Dynamite’s blooming pattern is slightly different. It also begins flowering in early July, but its blooming period extends about two weeks longer than Red Rocket. Generally, Dynamite continues to flower until the end of September, though this can vary depending on weather conditions. In some cases, it may lose its flowers earlier than expected.

 

Origin

Both the Red Rocket and Dynamite flowering trees are types of Lagerstroemia indica, a species native mainly to Asia, particularly India. Over the years, its vibrant flowers have helped it gain popularity worldwide.

In the United States, Dr. Carl Whitcomb is a renowned breeder of crape myrtles. He’s known for creating the Red Rocket and Dynamite varieties. Dynamite was his first success, known for its consistently stable red blooms. But Dr. Whitcomb didn’t stop there; he later developed the Red Rocket.

His contributions didn’t end with these two varieties. Thanks to Dr. Whitcomb’s efforts, a range of frost-resistant crape myrtles has emerged, showcasing the impact of one individual’s dedication.

So which one to choose?

Even considering the advantages of both crape myrtle varieties, I lean towards Red Rocket as the superior choice. This variety stands out with its vivid red color and lush flower clusters, contributing to a more opulent appearance.

The rapid growth rate of Red Rocket means you can quickly enjoy a spectacular flowering tree in your garden. Plus, you have the option to control its size through pruning. And as mentioned earlier, both varieties eventually reach a similar size at maturity.