Crape myrtle is a southern plant. Always was, always will be.
Plant breeders have recently released several varieties that are marginally hardy in Western Pennsylvania.
For the past few years, we've been seeing them show up in gardens locally. Gardeners report that the plants are thriving and continue to return.
'Cherry Dazzle' is a dwarf version which blooms at the end of the season. Most crape myrtles do. That's one of the reasons it's so sought after. Those late season blooms are spectacular.
This variety loves full sun, but will bloom in a little shade too. It stays small only three feet square and the foliage has a nice red color in the fall.
Bred by shrub superstar Dr. Michael Dirr, this could make quite an addition to the garden.
It should be planted in a protected spot. It's important not to subject it to the full brunt of winter.
If it gets really cold, the plant could die back to the ground, but will re-sprout in the spring.
I found mine at Hahn Nursery in Ross.