Plant of the Week: CENTER STAGE™ Red Crapemyrtle

Some plants just aren’t made for social distancing. They’re the ones that are ideally used en masse for maximum impact. Think groundcovers: why plant just one?

Others crave social distancing: a weeping cherry is spectacular as a specimen plant.

And then there are the ones that can work alone or in a group. Center Stage™ Red Lagerstroemia is one: it’s big (6-12′ x 8′) and bold enough to stand alone, yet will look great as a dramatic screen, too. Those red flowers against that black foliage? Sign me up – I’m ready for a little plant drama right now.

Center Stage™ Red crape myrtle is earlier to bloom than other varieties and also has better branching and darker foliage with good resistance to powdery mildew.

Folks like us who live in cooler zones will just have to garden vicariously through our southern friends when it comes to the fetching Center Stage™ Red crapemyrtle; it’s a USDA zone 7-9 plant. But we’ve become accustomed to long-distance relationships, right?

Social distancing…greenhouse style

Sure, greenhouses can get crowded. Given the extraordinary sales in retail garden centers this spring, you may have seen this. At least people tend to be in a reasonably good mood while shopping for plants.

Nonetheless, a little creativity is required when re-introducing the public to local businesses, especially service-based ones. Such as this clever idea for socially distanced restaurant dining. Probably most people would rather sit outside than in a tiny greenhouse, especially in summer, but it might be pretty nice come fall. And ever the optimist, we’ll assume the only reason they’ll need them by next spring is to start seedlings.

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