The impact of a Crape Myrtle tree? In a recent post about Wisteria, blooms are the focus, but Wisteria blooms generally last only up to 30 days; not so with Crape Myrtle… This summer blooming tree stays in bloom 2 – 3 months, which is excellent as you’ll have long lasting color summer and fall. In addition, Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is low maintenance and available in many size options for gardens, borders, street trees or containers.
Like flowering cherries, Crape Myrtle trees flower in a range of colors (more on color below). In tree form, you can choose either single or multi-trunked options, all the while enjoying mottled, peeling bark. Size options include dwarf trees and shrubs – a big plus for the small garden!
Here Are Some Photos: White + Pink Crape Myrtles
ABOUT: CRAPE MYRTLE
These deciduous, long flowering trees and shrubs do well in a wide variety of climates, BUT, full sun is essential. If you are looking for a stately tree, small shrub, small tree or container tree, Crape Myrtle is one to consider! As you’ll read through this post, you’ll see many varieties of Crape Myrtles included. These are just a drop in the bucket because over many years ‘improved varieties’ means that what was once tough to find in a Crape Myrtle is no longer an issue. Two improved characteristics include cold hardiness and disease resistance. For example, the latter, disease resistance (in the case of powdery mildew and leaf spot has been better ironed out). Powdery mildew on Crape Myrtle used to make this tree a bit of a deal breaker in SF; and, in choosing this tree, in all but the sunniest banana belt neighborhoods of the city, wasn’t a good idea! Today, you can find a ‘Disease Resistant’ variety.
3 Tips to Choose
1. Most cold and mildew resistant – ‘Muskogee’ ‘Tuscarora’ and ‘Tonto’
2. Dwarf or petite series – ‘Pokomoke’ and ‘Hopi’
3. Gold Medal award-winning hybrid: US National Arboretum designated gold metal status to several varieties for (1) fall foliage color; (2) flowers, trunk; (3) mildew resistance. Here they are: ‘Lipan’, ‘Sioux’, ‘Tonto’ and ‘Yuma’.
Crape Myrtle Tree Benefits
- Long bloom period
- Low maintenance
- Peeling bark
- Fall color
- Pet friendly
- Tolerates urban pollution
- Drought tolerant
Red – ‘Black Diamond’, ‘Dynamite’
Fuchsia Red – ‘Tonto’
Purple – ‘Catawba’
Light purple – ‘Muskogee’
White – ‘Natchez’
Coral pink – ‘Tuscarora’
Pink – ‘Sioux’
Quick Guide: Dwarf and Flower Color
Semi-Dwarf: ‘Hopi‘ – Size: 4-10′ wide x 4 – 10’ tall. Enjoy huge clusters of full pink blooms. Train as small tree/shrub.
Dwarf: ‘Pokomoke’ – Dwarf Crape Myrtle – Size: 3-5′ tall x 4-5′ wide
White Flowering: ‘Natchez’ – Size: 30’tall x 30′ wide. This wonderful stately tree is a popular choice. ‘Natchez’ has warm, cinnamon brown bark and lovely white flowers. Tree also is somewhat resistant to powdery mildew. Habit: Deciduous, multiple or single stemmed large shrub to medium-sized
tree. Foliage: Glossy, dark green. Fall color: Typically yellow but may exhibit dark red coloration.
Bloom: Prolific pure white flowers produced from late June to September.
Coral Pink Flowering: ‘Tuscaroca’ – Size: 15-20′ wide x 10-20’tall. This variety is highly resistant to powdery mildew and leaf spot. Provides vibrant color in almost all growing conditions.
Red Flowering: ‘Black Diamond’ – Size: 10-12′ tall x 4-5′ wide. Drought tolerant, mildew resistant and highly productive during the flowering season.
Purple Flowering: ‘Catawba’ – Size: 15′ tall x 14′ wide. This compact variety is wonderful with dark purple flowers take hold from spring through fall every year, with rich clusters of blossoms that sit upright on the branches. Because of the blooms’ density, branches may bend from their own weight, giving the tree a gorgeous cascading appearance. Disease: Excellent mildew resistance. Fall color: Nice! Ranges from orange-red to maroon.
Over the last few summers we’ve put a spotlight on summer blooming trees. If this is what you are looking for also take a look at: Albizia julibrissan and Laburnum ‘Vossii’ .
Looking to buy? Select according to ‘mature size’. If you want a Crape Myrtle shrub, look for a shrub; if you want a small-scale patio tree, look for a dwarf or semi-dwarf. As always, make sure you match your climate with the tree’s USDA hardiness zone (average minimum cold temperature). Listed below is our Etsy link for a great selection of Crape Myrtle trees. And finally, talk to your local nurseries for what grows best in your area. Hope you found this post helpful! 🙂