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Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtles are chiefly known for their intensely colorful and long-lasting flowers. They are a terrific, low-maintenance choice for prolific blooms during hot, humid summers. The Crape Myrtle, also known as the "lilac of the south", is an easy to grow small blooming tree that grows best in zone 5 and above. They blossom in midsummer through autumn in panicles of crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture. Flowers are held above the foliage in an impressive summer display when other shrubs and trees are finished blooming for the season. Crape myrtles grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. They can be grown in much of the U.S., except colder climates in the north. After blooming, they develop distinctive seed heads, and then the leaves tend to fall toward the end of autumn, leaving the colorful, exfoliating bark for the winter. This peeling bark adds interest in the winter landscape.

A crape myrtle is any member of the Lagerstroemia genus. It is a deciduous shrub that originates from Southeast Asia, although it now grows wild throughout much of the United States. The crape myrtle bush is a common ornamental shrub due to its hardiness in temperate climates. It should not require any special care once it establishes its root system in a new location.

Look no further than DeGroot for this fantastic plant group if you're looking to attract Birds and Wildlife to your landscape. The characteristics that make these species so visually appealing – showy flowers, stunning fruit, winter color – are some of Nature's most powerful draws for the animal kingdom. Turn your yard into a naturally balanced eco-system! Whether you choose one variety or one of each, you're sure to enjoy these plants for a lifetime. They provide food, shelter and nesting. Plant your backyard sanctuary today!

Plant Details +

Botanical Lagerstroemia
Common Name Crape Myrtle
Height 10-15'
Spacing 5-10'
Hardiness Zones 6-9
Exposure Full Sun
Foliage Medium Green
Flower Deep Fuchsia Pink Flowers
Bloomtime Midsummer to Autumn

General Information +

General Characteristics: Crape Myrtles flourish best in full sun, which will provide exceptional flowering. While the trees will grow in a shaded area, optimal fullness will not be attained, and flowering will be greatly minimized. There is no soil where Lagerstroemias won't grow including all commercial mixes. Crape Myrtles do well in any moisture situation except dry desert climates where you must water more often. Choose a well-drained and sunny location away from the eaves of a house or any large trees that can shade the plant. Crape Myrtles prefer full sun and are prone to mildew problems in shady locations. Start a pruning program while plants are young by training the plant to have 1 or 3 trunks by cutting away new growth that appears at the base. An odd number of trunks is more pleasing to the eye and help keep a neat appearance. Spent flowers can be removed once or twice during the growing season for aesthetic purposes. Shearing top of plant or "dehorning" is not recommended as it causes excessive top growth vulnerable to insect damage. Ensure that your Crape Myrtle is planted at least four weeks before your first frost. This will give your tree an opportunity to adjust to its new environment. If your area is experiencing extreme heat, place your potted tree in a well-shaded area, such as a garage, or plant it in a well shaded area of your lawn. Once mature, your tree will be able to handle these temperatures. Typically, though, trees do not experience much growth during times of intense temperature.

Tip: Winter Dormancy: During late fall and winter, your tree will enter its dormant state. When this occurs, the leaves will fall off and the stem will turn brown. Above ground, nothing will take place during this time, but the roots of your tree will continue to grow beneath the surface. This winter root development will accelerate the growth of your tree come spring.

Planting/Care Instructions +

Planting Instructions: Dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the root meets the stem) is about 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly. Fertilize Lagerstroemias during the growing season with any of the water-soluble fertilizers. Osmocote type fertilizers also work well. Cover base of plant with a 3-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and prevent transplant shock.

Pests or Diseases: The best defense is a healthy tree. Good soil, proper feeding and adequate water are vital to its prosperity. The Crape Myrtles are almost insect and disease free although you may see aphids from time to time. Spray with over the counter sprays like diazinon, malathion, & use rose disease sprays (for mildew) that are readily available. Crape Myrtles are known for being deer-resistant. However, if you would still like to take preventative measures against any deer related issues, sprinkle some "Deer Away" on the top of the tree until it grows beyond the reach of a deer. The Crape Myrtle tree is not poisonous, so no harm will come to your pets. Nevertheless, pets should be discouraged from nibbling the tree when it is young and developing.