Lagerstroemia, a plant or sapling very common in our gardens, often without our knowledge with this long and almost unpronounceable name. To see it, however, it is so simple and flourishes available to cheer even the streets. It is in fact one of the plants also used for tree-lined avenues since not only does it not suffer from harsh temperatures or strong sun, but not even pollution. In winter it is totally naked and in spring it blooms taking it easy.
Lagerstroemia: the plant
We can meet the Lagerstroemia both in the form of shrub and small tree, always with deciduous leaves and with heights of about 7-10 meters. This rather common plant now also in our continent is however originally from Asia, is characterized by an erect and thin stem, very often it develops simultaneously with several trunks all with the clear and smooth bark but that in winter, in the more adult specimens, it “falls apart” creating very fascinating designs.
The foliage of the Lagerstroemia it is rounded and enlarged, naturally not very dense and composed of dark green leaves, oval and rather elongated. In autumn, the color turns orange or even red, before disappearing with the fall of the leaves that inexorably arrive in winter. If the plant is reborn in late spring, they appear in summer long and colorful flower panicles: from white to pink, light or deep, and even lilac.
Of Lagerstroemia there are about eighty species, some are very similar and only an expert eye distinguishes them, others are noted for their size, but all have the same preferences regarding positioning, in the sun or half-shade, and the ground: it must be clayey, rich and of good texture.
The landing of the first Lagerstroemia in Europe it dates back to the mid-1700s, from China it immediately conquered everyone for its aesthetic qualities but in truth in its country of origin the most important aspect was that of the production of timber, precious wood because rarely attacked by insects, very compact and of a particular reddish color.
There Lagerstroemia Indica it is the most widespread species, it comes from Japan, Korea and China and has a rather enlarged crown even if it often ends up being "combed" to as a sapling or bush. The L. Indica therefore appears to us with a very smooth, gray-brown stem, and a tree-like crown formed by dark green and elliptical leaves. In autumn and winter, as happens with other species, the bark flakes off, in spring and summer it is time for flowers: they appear in bunches up to 20 cm long.
There Dwarf lagerstroemia it is one of those varieties outside the standard given its anomalous height and reduced to 50, maximum 90 cm. The flowers are similar, as are the bark and the color of the leaves. However, it is natural to think, and rightly so, that the Lagerstroemia can also be grown as bonsai and not without being very successful.
More than the flowers, in this case, it is the bark of this plant that strikes and fascinates since while other types of bonsai remain anonymous in winter and autumn, the Lagerstroemia indulges in showing very artistic chiaroscuro effects on its trunk. Nothing magical or anomalous, it is simplerand the flaking off of the bark we have already talked about: long strips come off and leave tick off pink and brown shades behind the gray cover, more banal.
Here's how the Lagerstroemia it becomes an excellent decorative bonsai plant. We take care to treat it by reducing watering in winter and never leaving it in environments with less than 15 degrees. If we want to spoil it, let's choose an area in semi-shade, near a window but away from drafts and cold drafts.
From dwarf to speciosa, variety of Lagerstroemia which on the contrary is oversized: it reaches 20-25 meters in height. Big and "big" but it fears the cold more than the others, certainly much more thanCaroline Beauty which is very hardy and produces abundant crimson red flowers.
Among the other varieties in which we can range if we are satisfied with heights lower than ours L.Speciosa, there is the Rubra magnificent, less rustic, with double red flowers, the Nivea, with white flowers, the Violacea, with mauve-violet flowers, the Rosea nova, delicate and with delicate pink flowers, the Coccinea, red and fragile, and the Lagerstroemia Rosea. The latter is the most widespread, it produces fuchsia flowers and is the most rustic and adaptable, even to owners without a green thumb.
the flowering period for the Lagerstroemia it is later than the average, starts in September and lasts until October. The colors we can expect are pink, violet, white and fuscia with different unexpected shades. To obtain abundant flowering we can intervene with fertilization even if in general this plant almost never has difficulty in flowering: in autumn at the foot of the saplings - bush we can add some manure or granular fertilizer.
Another tip concerns the planting, to be carried out possibly in spring, from April to June, then the plants grow without particular problems, in Italy almost everywhere, excluding areas that are too high.
The rather slow growth of the Lagerstroemia it does not make pruning strictly necessary. At least never in a drastic and urgent way. In the first years it may be useful to give a shape to our plant by choosing whether we want it as a sapling or more enlarged.
In the first case we have to cut each shoot from the lower part of the trunk and try to make the crown as round as possible, otherwise to obtain a more expanded posture we can let the branches grow also at the base and cut them at a later time as if to sculpt a shape. hoc. Then, as far as pruning is concerned, it is not necessary to do anything else for the Lagerstroemia except give it a look every now and then so it doesn't look messy or neglected. The more you take care of it, the more generously it will bloom.
The flowers and leaves of the Lagerstroemia they can be affected by powdery mildew, to prevent this problem we recommend the use of wettable sulfur or pure sulfur. The buds can also be targeted by aphids, which often happens, while it is rare that the Lagerstroemia come damaged by insects or cryptogams.
To get one Lagerstroemia to decorate your garden, you can easily start from seedlings in pots of 18 cm in diameter, promising and affordable online with ease and with around ten euros. The price does not vary with the color. We can opt for pink with the Lagerstroemia Indica Rosea, with a rather pale but clearly visible color that gives joy.
For those who love bold colors, more tending to red, there is the L. Indicates Rouge who knows no equal in character with his own gritty and bubbling flower, crinkled and in panicles.
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