About Crape Myrtles

Crape Myrtle Trees

Known for their wrinkled crepe paper-like flowers and love for hot weather. These Southern charmers are internationally adored.

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Crape Myrtles

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Crape Myrtles (sometimes spelled Crepe Myrtles) are shrubs or small trees that are widely grown in warmer regions for their large, dramatic and colorful flowers which are produced all summer. Their bright colors are bold in the brightest sunlight and these rapid-growing plants will quickly bring your garden alive. They are easy to grow and some can grow up to 5 feet a year, so unlike some other plants that need patience to be seen at their best, Crape Myrtle trees will rapidly grow into substantial plants that will give your new garden a feel of maturity.

They grow best in warmer regions and have been grown in the South for centuries, where they are associated with long, hot days, mint juleps on the porch and the brightness of a southern summer. Many of the newer forms, however, are frost-hardy; so for the first time that southern color can be seen in northern gardens. Most Crapes are tolerant of many kinds of soils, drought-resistant and just ask for a sunny spot to grow in to bring their radiance to your garden. Not only are they colorful all summer long, but they have gorgeous fall color too, and often attractive bark and colorful spring leaves as well, so they bring interest to your garden all year round.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION

Using Crape Myrtles on Your Property

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They come in a variety of sizes, from medium shrubs to small trees, so there is a variety that will satisfy your needs. As well, with pruning, they can be modified in height and also turned into small trees which are excellent lawn specimens for smaller gardens. So they will fit well into a border of shrubs or stand alone as a specimen in a lawn, beside a driveway, as part of the foundation planting around your house, or as a spectacular hedge and screen. No matter the size of our property, from a few square feet to several acres, these trees have a lot to offer the gardener who loves color without a lot of work – and isn’t that every gardener?

Process

Planting Crape Myrtles

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Appearance of Crape Myrtles

Lagastroemia are shrubs or small trees that have several main stems and arching upper branches, which end in big sprays of flowers. They form larger shrubs or smaller trees between 5 and 25 feet tall, depending on the variety, pruning methods and location. The bark is mottled and usually grey-pink in color; some of the newer forms, like the Natchez, have especially beautiful bark which is mottled in gray, brown and maroon shades.

The leaves are up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, with smooth edges and a healthy, glossy appearance. They are green in summer and turn red or yellow in fall, but some of the newer forms have attractive colored leaves in spring too, like the Dynamite Crape, which is also especially recommended for its particularly brilliant fall color.

The spectacular flowers were originally lavender-pink, but hard-working Crape breeders have produced varieties which cover the spectrum from white, bright pink, lavender, purple, deep pink to shades of brilliant red. The individual crape flowers are 1 or 2 inches across, with many petals, but they are clustered together into large heads up to 14 inches long, which form at the ends of the branches.

The weight of the flowers causes the branches to arch over, giving the plant an elegant, relaxed appearance. In warmer regions flowering can start as early as May and continue right up to frost, but they are at their best in summer, when most other flowers are finished blooming, which makes them especially valuable for keeping flowers in your garden for as many months as possible.

Varieties

Crape Myrtle Tree Varieties and Cultivars

There are many different Crape Myrtle species, though those most popular and easy-to-grow in the United States are listed below. Many of the species are native to other regions of the world, such as India, southeast Asia, northern Australia, and Europe. With varieties ranging from a few inches to tall to over 100 feet tall, a Crepe Myrtle exists to suit the needs of many landscaping adventures.

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These Crape Myrtles are popular for a variety of reasons. Pink Velour Crapes are drought-resistant with deep pink blossoms. These trees can be planted either individually, as accent ornamentals, or in rows 4-5 feet apart as privacy screens.

Tuscarora Crepe Myrtles are limited to zones 7 through 9, though their coral-colored blooms are often envied elsewhere. Adaptable to poor soil and limited water, Tuscaroras do best when planted with full sun. This variety is also fast-growing, reaching between 3 and 5 feet of new growth each growing season.

Red Rocket Crepes grow well through a larger region of the United States than many other varieties: zones 6 through 9. The vivacious red blooms are the fastest-growing Crepe Myrtle, often growing more than 5 feet a year. The mature height of the Red Rocket Crepe Myrtle is between 20 and 30 feet tall.

The sublime Natchez Crepe Myrtle displays pure white blooms for long lengths of the summer, from June to September. The Natchez Crepe is also popular because of its fast-growth, which can be between 3 and 5 feet a year. The Natchez’s bark is also distinctive, offering a shimmery-brown throughout the year.

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Frequently Asked Question

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– Spectacular flowers in spring or summer
– Rich, glossy green foliage in the evergreen kinds
– Wonderful specimen or screening trees
– Wide range of colors and sizes for every garden
– Easily grown and long-lived in many climate zones

In colder areas, where evergreen forms growing in the open will suffer from cold, they can instead be grown successfully by spreading them on a wall. There they will be sheltered and look spectacular. The rich perfume of their flowers will drift through open windows, and they will cloth a wall with beautiful foliage all year. To grow a tree in this way, choose a sunny wall, preferably facing south. Run a series of wires from one end of the wall to the other, using strong attachments suitable for the type of wall – wood, brick or concrete. Space the wires 18 inches apart, all the way up the wall. Use wire-strainers so that you can tighten the wires over time, if they stretch. Plastic-coated wire is best.

Plant the tree with its base right against the wall, and gently spread out the branches to left and right, attaching them to the wires with loose loops of durable string. Don’t tie tightly, as this will cut into the stems as they grow. As new stems develop, continue to spread them out and tie them in to the wall. Make sure you water younger trees growing this way regularly, as the base of walls often does not get much natural rain. Soon you will have a beautiful effect, and every bloom will be fully visible, opening for the sun and for your pleasure.

Like all plants, magnolia trees can suffer from pests and diseases, but attacks of any significance are very rare. These trees have an ancient lineage, and they have had millions of years to evolve defenses against pests and diseases. It is very unlikely you will see any serious problems with your trees. Sometimes, if trees are grown in soil that is too alkaline, yellowing of the leaves may be seen. If this happens, treat the trees with a product for acid-loving plants, such as chelated iron. This will allow the tree to absorb the nutrients it needs to remain healthy. Use this each spring, and again in late summer if the yellowing is severe.

OUR PROMISE

Arrive & Thrive

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What good is getting your landscape in the mail if your plants show up dead? We’ve got to admit, sending a tree in a box across the country is pretty unorthodox. Thankfully, we’ve become experts at it. Because of our Arrive & Thrive ™ Guarantee, you can rest assured that your trees will get to you happy and in perfect health.