Trees that bloom red like roses are a truly fabulous spectacle. Precisely this is the main reason why people choose crape myrtle.
However, today you can find a significant number of varieties and sometimes it isn’t easy to prefer one. Also, there are varieties with very similar ornamental characteristics. And so it happened with today’s two.
Both of these flowering trees belong to the species Lagerstroemia indica. This species is mainly distributed in Asia (India). Over time, thanks to the flowers, this species has become widespread throughout the world.
In the US, the most famous breeder of crape myrtle is Dr. Carl Whitcomb. He was the author of Red Rocket and Dynamite.
For the first time, he managed to get a variety that had a stable red color, and it was Dynamite. But the scientist did not intend to stop there, and after a while, Red Rocket was born.
In addition to these two varieties, a whole group of frost-resistant crape myrtles appeared, all thanks to one person.
|Mature height||20-30′ (6-9m)||20-25′ (6-7.5 m)|
|Mature width||15-20′ (4.5-6m)||10-15′ (3-4.5m)|
|Light exposure||full sun||full sun|
|Soil||moist, drained||moist, drained|
|Watering||one time per week in a drought||one time per week in a drought|
Red Rocket has more significant flower clusters
One of the main differences between these beautiful trees is the size of the flower clusters. Red Rocket has a cluster of flowers 22-24 inches long. The petals are wrinkled, and this gives the flowers a unique charm. Dynamite, on the other hand, has 16-inch flower clusters. It also looks great, and due to the shorter length, the clusters look rounder.
In this regard, Red Rocket wins because, during flowering, it looks more lush and voluminous. It should be said that longer clusters do not look thin because the number of flowers is greater and provides a rich look.
Whatever variety you choose, you need to provide the plants with enough nutrients because abundant flowering takes a lot of energy.
I recommend adding slow-release fertilizers in early spring to each tree. You need to follow the instructions on the fertilizer box, and everything will be fine.
It will also be useful if you mulch the surface around the tree with compost. This material will retain moisture in the root area and give extra fertilization.
Red Rocket grow faster
Red Rocket has a fast growth rate. It can increase by 5 feet per year. Its height at maturity reaches 30 feet, and in width, it grows by 15-20 feet.
Usually, this growth rate is possible under ideal conditions such as climate, watering, fertilization. In cold climates and the absence of moisture, it will grow more slowly.
At the same time, Dynamite is increasing in size by 3 feet per year. This means that its growth rate is almost half as slow.
At the age of 10, these varieties will have different sizes, and Dynamite will be smaller. But over time, he will catch up with the competitor, and their size will equalize.
So it is difficult to conclude who is the best in this regard because some gardeners want to quickly get a flowering tree while others chase the compact size and slow growth.
And at the end of this chapter is a small piece of information. In the early years, Red Rocket has a more vertical shape. This means that its branches stretch upwards more than in Dynamite, but their habit becomes similar over time.
Their color is slightly different
These two varieties have red flowers of different shades. Also, flowers have some differences so let’s dive into that.
Let’s start with Dynamite. It has a red color with a scarlet or fiery hue. Besides, in the center of each flower are visible yellow stamens. They perfectly complement the red petals.
Red Rocket, on the other hand, has red flowers with a cherry tint. Of course, this tint may not always appear, but very often, it is noticeable.
Also, the stamens are very small and hidden by petals. So the flowers are Red Rocket pure red without a yellow center.
A small disadvantage of Dynamite is that the flowers will not be bright red in cloudy and cold weather and may even have a light pink color. The same cannot be said of Red Rocket, and its flowers retain color better.
Despite these features, you need to provide both of these varieties with enough sunlight to get a rich flower color.
These trees should receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily (of course, if the day is sunny). It will be better for the northern states if the sun illuminates them for 10-12 hours.
Dynamite blooms a little longer
Red Rocket begins to bloom in early July. If the weather is sunny and warm, it may be even a little earlier (late June).
The flowering period lasts about two months, until the end of August or the beginning of September. Then the flowers dry up, and the plant prepares for winter.
With Dynamite, everything is a little different. It also begins to bloom in early July, but flowering lasts about two weeks longer than the competitor.
Usually, this variety blooms until the end of September, although it all depends on weather conditions. Sometimes it can lose flowers earlier.
To get a two-month flowering period, you need to give these trees enough moisture. This is especially true in too dry and sunny weather.
It would be best if you watered them at least once a week, do not let the top layer of soil dry out more than an inch. Otherwise, the flowers will fade earlier.
So what to choose?
Despite each of these crape myrtles’ pros, I still believe that Red Rocket is the best choice anyway.
This variety has a bright red color, flower clusters are lusher, and it gives the plant a richer look.
The fast growth rate will allow you to get a fabulous flowering tree in the yard quickly. You can always reduce the size of this tree by pruning. In addition, as I wrote above, these two varieties in maturity will be the same size.
I encourage you to choose Red Rocket because you will not need anything else when you see it. There are also alternatives on the market that deserve attention, which we will definitely talk about someday.