Firecracker Crepe Myrtle: Full Guide for Gorgeous Blooms

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is an exquisite decorative tree that adds a pop of vivid color to any outdoor setting.

Known for its showy, fiery red blooms that resemble the crackle of fireworks, this tree is a favorite among garden enthusiasts and landscape designers alike.

The Firecracker crepe myrtle typically blooms in the heat of summer, usually starting in late June or early July. The spectacular display of red flowers continues throughout the summer and can last until early fall, depending on the climate and growing conditions.

If you’re considering adding a Firecracker crepe myrtle to your garden or landscape or if you’re simply curious about this beautiful tree, read on.

We’ll cover its growth habits, ideal growing conditions, maintenance needs, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • The Firecracker crepe myrtle is known for its stunning, fiery red blooms that last from late June to early fall. It’s a hardy tree that can withstand a variety of conditions, including heat and drought.
  • This tree thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 6-9, prefers full sun to partial shade, and grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil.
  • Regular watering, annual fertilization, and pruning in late winter or early spring are key to maintaining a healthy Firecracker crepe myrtle.
  • With its moderate size and spectacular blooms, the Firecracker crepe myrtle is a versatile choice for various landscape settings. It can serve as a specimen tree, a border plant, or a privacy screen.

Expand your knowledge of Crepe Myrtle even further by reading my article, Best Crepe Myrtle Varieties.

Firecracker Crepe Myrtle

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is a deciduous tree that is cherished for its summer-long display of bright red flowers. Here’s a quick overview of its key characteristics:

Botanical NameLagerstroemia ‘Firecracker’
Mature Height10-15 feet
Mature Width6-10 feet
Growth RateModerate
Light PreferencesFull sun to partial shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, slightly acidic soil
Watering NeedsModerate
Bloom ColorRed
Bloom TimeLate June to early fall
Fall FoliageOrange to red

General Appearance

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is a small to medium-sized tree with a broad, rounded canopy.

Its bark is smooth and peels away in patches, revealing a mottled mix of gray, brown, and cream underneath. The leaves are oval in shape and dark green, providing a beautiful contrast to the bright red blooms.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

With a moderate growth rate, the Firecracker crepe myrtle can reach a mature height of 10-15 feet and a width of 6-10 feet. It typically takes about 10 years for this tree to reach its full size.

Its compact size makes it an excellent choice for smaller yards or for planting under power lines.

Blooms

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is renowned for its spectacular display of fiery red flowers. The blooms start appearing in late June or early July and continue until early fall.

Each flower is composed of delicate, crinkled petals that cluster together to form large, showy panicles. The vibrant red color of the blooms is reminiscent of a firecracker, hence the tree’s name.

It’s interesting to note that, according to Neil Sperry, the flowers may open white or pink if the tree was recently shipped or if the weather is cloudy for days on end.

Hardiness

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is a hardy tree that can withstand a variety of conditions.

It is drought-tolerant once established and can handle heat well, making it an excellent choice for areas with hot summers.

Firecracker is also tolerant of salty conditions, so it’s perfect if you live in a coastal area. It’s also resistant to many common pests and diseases that affect other trees.

Firecracker Crepe Myrtle Growing Conditions

The Firecracker crepe myrtle thrives in a variety of growing conditions. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Grow Zones: This tree is best suited to USDA Hardiness Zones 6-9. It can tolerate cold down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sun Requirements: The Firecracker crepe myrtle prefers full sun to partial shade. A minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day will ensure the best bloom production.
  • Soil Preferences: This tree prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils as long as they drain well.

Firecracker Crepe Myrtle Maintenance and Care

Caring for a Firecracker crepe myrtle doesn’t require much time or effort, but it does involve regular watering, fertilization, and pruning.

  • Watering: Water your Firecracker crepe myrtle regularly, especially during its first year and dry periods. However, be careful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot.
  • Fertilization: Fertilize your tree in early spring with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms, or use a fertilizer made specifically for crepe myrtles, like this one.
  • Pruning: Prune your Firecracker crepe myrtle in late winter or early spring to maintain its shape and encourage new growth.

Pests & Diseases

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is resistant to many common pests and diseases. However, like all crepe myrtles, it can occasionally be affected by aphids, powdery mildew, and sooty mold.

Regular monitoring and early treatment can help keep these issues at bay.

One problem to watch for is crepe myrtle bark scale, a new issue that is spreading rapidly.

Landscape Uses

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is a versatile tree that can be used in a variety of landscape settings. It’s perfect as a specimen tree, in borders, or even as a privacy screen when planted in a row.

Companion Plants

Consider pairing the Firecracker crepe myrtle with plants that complement its vibrant red blooms.

Some good companions include white-flowering plants like Shasta daisies, blue-flowering plants like Russian sage, or low-growing plants with pretty foliage like hostas.

Where To Buy

Firecracker Crepe myrtle trees can be difficult to find. You might occasionally find one at a local or online nursery, but you’re best bet will be to connect with crepe myrtle enthusiasts on social media and forums.

Always ensure that you’re buying from a trusted source to guarantee the health and quality of the tree.

Closing Thoughts

The Firecracker crepe myrtle is a truly spectacular tree that can add a burst of color and beauty to any landscape.

With its vibrant red blooms, moderate growth rate, and hardy nature, it’s a wonderful addition to any garden. This tree is relatively easy to care for and can provide you with a stunning display of flowers every summer.

With the right knowledge and a little effort, you can enjoy the gorgeous blooms of the Firecracker Crepe Myrtle for many years to come.

Still trying to find the right Crepe Myrtle for you? Check out these popular varieties: