Crape Myrtle: Care and Plant Growing Guide (With Pictures)

Crape myrtle plantss and trees bloom throughout the summer, producing gorgeous colorful blossoms that are ideal for gardens. Beautiful flowering hedges, vibrant borders, and attractive container plants can all be grown with crepe myrtles as excellent shrubs. To add vibrant colors to summer gardens, small crape myrtle trees are best grown as specimen or lawn trees.

The genus Lagerstroemia includes the evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees known as Crepe Myrtle. Crape myrtles are a genus of over 50 species that is well-known for its riotously gorgeous bouquet. USDA zones 7 through 9 are ideal for crepe myrtle trees and shrubs.

In the southern United States, Australia, and India, crepe myrtles thrive in warmer regions. Caring for crape myrtle trees and shrubs is explained in detail in this article. In addition, you may learn how to grow these gorgeous colorful shrubs in your garden via our guide.

What Do Crape Myrtles Look Like?

Crape myrtles are bushy plants with many stems and a rounded, bushy crown that may grow as shrubs or multi-stemmed tiny trees. The plant’s most prominent characteristic is large flower clusters that bloom throughout the summer. Gray, cinnamon, light tan, and soft pink are among the colors of Crpe myrtle peeling bark.

Crape myrtle plants have glossy dark green oval leaves that are another feature. In the spring, large, wide leaves become a dark red color, which develops into rich, thick summer growth. Crape myrtles turn orange, yellow, and red in the autumn. Because of their vivid exfoliating bark, big flower clusters, lush summer foliage, and stunning autumn colors, crepe myrtles have a long-term appeal.

Crape Myrtle Colors

In warm climates, crimson, pink, purple, and white myrtle blooms may be found on crepe myrtles. Flowers range from vibrant pink, lilac, red, and purple hues on the large bushy shrubs. White blooms and flower tones in delicate pastel hues are also found in some species.

More than just the flowers contribute to the beauty of crape myrtles. The bushy plants turn a rich red color in the spring as new leaf growth develops. The thick shrub foliage then transitions from yellows, oranges, and reds before the leaves fall in the autumn when the leaves change color.

The lovely grayish-brown bark that peels to reveal cinnamon and pink colors is seen on crepe myrtle leaves and autumn foliage (right).

Crape Myrtle Flowers

Carpe myrtle flowers are made up of tiny petals that resemble crepe-paper clusters, and they are photographed close up. Between 6″ and 18″ (15 – 45 cm) long, showy flower clusters known as panicles grow. Crpe myrtle blooms range from pinks to purples to lilacs to reds and white when in full bloom.

The flowers have a ruffled look due to their crinkled petals. From June, the flowers of crepe myrtle bushes and trees are fragrant. Until the end of September, the flowers remain in bloom.

Crape Myrtles in the Garden and Landscape

The best way to add beauty and color to landscapes is by growing crape myrtle trees and shrubs in your garden. Crape myrtle trees bloom for a long time, so their gorgeous flowers may be seen for many months. You may grow tiny flowering trees, colorful hedges, or bedding for mixed beds depending on the sort of crape myrtle shrub you cultivate.

Growing dwarf crape myrtle bushes in containers is another option. To add greenery and color to balcony, patio, or deck areas, you can place potted crape myrtle plants. In gardens, there are a few common methods to grow crape myrtles.

Crape myrtle shrubs for hedges and screens

Crape myrtle bushy growth makes the shrubby plants excellent as flowering hedges and dense privacy screens. Year-round privacy for your yard may be provided by evergreen crape myrtles. To create a thick hedgerow, plantCrepe Myrtles around 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) apart.

To promote healthy development, prune away any winter-thickening woody branches. ‘Catawba’ (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’) and ‘Tonto’ (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Tonto’) are two of the best crape myrtle hedge plants.

Crape myrtle are beautiful specimen trees

To establish a garden landscape, large crape myrtle bushes may be trained to produce as single-stemmed specimen bushes. In sunny gardens, certain crape myrtle types have huge, rounded crowns that offer shade. The gorgeous trees bloom longer than other landscape trees and provide a diverse array of long-lasting hues.

‘Natchez’ (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’), ‘Tuscarora’ (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Tuscarora’), and ‘Acoma’ (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei) are the three best crape myrtle specimen trees to bloom.

Crape myrtle bushes can be excellent shrub borders

Small crape myrtle shrubs are great for creating around walkways and around front doorways, and they may be utilized as decorative foundation plants. Your garden is bordered by lush green leaves and colorful flowers. Your landscaped garden is enhanced by the magnificent crape myrtle floral displays.

‘Delta Blush’ (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Delta Blush’) and ‘Centennial Spirit’ (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Centennial Spirit’) are some of the nicest miniature crape myrtle shrubs for borders.

Crape myrtles grow as colorful background plants

Taller crape myrtle trees provide beauty, height, and color to front or rear yards by adding greenery. Large crape myrtle trees may be placed in front of walls, at the corner of houses, or behind mixed beds. The lovely long-lasting summer flowers cover up any unattractive elements in the garden, such as walls or compost bins.

Crape myrtle shrubs are ideal for containers

Containers, planter boxes, and huge pots are ideal for growing miniature crape myrtle shrubs. If you reside in northern regions, potted crape myrtle plants are a fantastic option since they may be brought indoors in the winter. Patio, deck, yard, and balcony plants may be grown in containers with Crepe myrtles.

You should plant crape myrtles in well-draining soil and only water the top half of the potting mix when it is dry to care for them in containers. To promote blooming and healthy development, keep the plant in full sunlight like with other crape myrtle types.

Where to Plant Crape Myrtle

In your front or backyard, plant crape myrtle shrubs in the brightest location. Myrtles, such as Corbin myrtles, thrive in bright sunlight for at least six hours each day. It’s also important to keep in mind that they can tolerate some shade. In addition, you should place crepe myrtle in a area where it can grow and spread with its large crown.

The width of certain myrtles may exceed their height. Therefore, if you want to see the full magnificence of the blooming shrubs, plant them in a location with sufficient space for their leaves.

When to Plant Crape Myrtle

Between late autumn and early spring is the optimum time to plant crape myrtle shrubs. The shrubby plant has time to prepare and establish a good root system if you plant it before spring. The shrub-like tree may then begin vigorous development in the spring. Water the roots thoroughly before planting them in the ground.

During the summer, you may also plant crape myrtles. After planting, you’ll have to water the new plant several times. The young plant can adapt to its new surroundings with plenty of water while the weather is hot in the summer.

How Fast Do Crape Myrtles Grow?

Crabi myrtles, which may grow at a pace of 1 to 2 feet (0.3 to 0.6 meters) each year, are fast-growing shrubs and trees. These garden shrubs are ideal for creating a colorful garden landscape because of the plant’s fast development. Crape myrtle’s fast development rate may assist you choose between a few cultivars for your garden.

For instance, for your garden, you might need a small to medium-sized flowering shrub. A Lagerstroemia indica cultivar with a mature height of 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) would be ideal. To keep the plant’s height in check, you’ll need to trim it more often if it’s a bigger crape myrtle plant.

How to Plant Crape Myrtle

Placing shrubs and trees of plant crape myrtle in a suitable location with well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight is the best approach.

Here is how to plant crape myrtle:

Dig a hole twice the size of the pot and barely as deep as the pot to plant crape myrtle. Make sure the root ball of the crape myrtle plant grows at the same depth as it did in the pot after removing it from the pot. Fill the remaining space with soil, firmly pressing the ground around the stem.

This assists the new shrub in maintaining its stability. To ensure that the roots are adequately hydrated, thoroughly water the crape myrtle. If there is no rain during the first two months, thoroughly water the plant every week.

Around the crape myrtle root base, place a 3-inch (7.5 cm) layer of organic mulch, leaving some inches between the trunk and the mulch.

How to Choose the Perfect Crape Myrtle for Your Garden

Picking the appropriate crape myrtle cultivar for growing in your garden is easier said than done.

Crape myrtle colors 

The profusion of colorful flowers on crepe myrtle plants is well-known. Purple, white, lavender, and red flowers may be found on the shrubs available. Many pink hues ranging from light cherry blossom pinks to dark, nearly crimson pinks may be seen in many crape myrtle cultivars.

Choosing crape myrtles by size 

From tiny 3-foot (1-meter) shrubs to massive bushes that reach up to 30 feet (9 meters), crepe myrtle bushes range in size. To determine which cultivar you want, look for the bush or tree’s mature size. Crape myrtles can be pruned, but only to a bare minimum.

Plant disease-resistant crape myrtles

Look for disease-resistant crape myrtle cultivars. Powdery mildew is a problem with certain antique cultivars, particularly in hot, humid weather. The white powdery stuff on the leaves of disease resistant crape myrtles is uncommon to other plants.

Crape Myrtle Care

Easy-care landscaping plants include crepe myrtle shrubs and trees. This is a simple how-to for growing crape myrtle in your front or back yard.

How Much Sunshine Do Crape Myrtles Need?

Full sun is required for crepe myrtle plants, which need at least six hours of sunlight daily. The amount of sun received by the crape myrtles determines how long they will bloom. While partial shade is possible for flowering shrubs, they won’t blossom as profusely.

Ideal Soil for Crape Myrtle Trees and Bushes

As long as the ground drains well, crepe myrtles can grow in most types of soil. These plants grow well in loamy, sandy, or clay soil. Organic matter added to the soil helps to retain moisture and supply nutrients for healthy development.

Remember that having too much compost will generate lush foliage but no flowers. Crape myrtles are excellent landscaping plants and trees for gardens where other plants can’t grow because they flourish in poor soils.

How to Water Crape Myrtles in the Garden

Myrtle trees and shrubs are drought tolerant. Drought-tolerant plants like Lagerstroemia shrubs are common in arid environments. You should water the shrub whenever the ground dries completely throughout long, hot summers. Mulch may help to conserve moisture around the crape myrtle root zone.

It’s critical, however, that the plant’s roots do not get waterlogged or sit in drenched soil. During the first few months after planting, only young crape myrtle plants need weekly watering until they are established.

Fertilizing Crape Myrtle Bushes and Trees

Balanced fertilizers for trees may be used on cornel myrtles. When growth begins, apply a slow-release granular fertilizer. Sprinkle the granules approximately 12 inches (30 cm) outside the canopy, over the root zone. Fertilizing crape myrtles is more important than getting enough sunlight.

NPK ratings of 10-10-10 or 12-4-8 are recommended for crape myrtles as fertilizers. Too much leaf growth and not enough blooming is encouraged by too much nitrogen (N).

Pruning Crape Myrtle Trees

Remove dead branches and thin weak stems from prune crape myrtle trees in early spring. Trim off a few inches from the ends of branches to encourage bushy development and produce more leaves and flowers. Prune the bottom side branches of a crape myrtle tree to encourage upward development if you want to grow one.

To create a single-stemmed crape myrtle tree, you should also eliminate any suckers (shoots growing at the tree’s base). Deadhead spent blooms to encourage multiple blooms throughout the season. This method allows you to enjoy the flowers until the autumn comes to an end.

Pests Affecting Crape Myrtle Growth

Most garden pests and bugs are resistant to cut myrtles. Crape myrtle aphids are the most prevalent infestation for the plants. These tiny sap-sucking creatures feed on plant cells and excrete a sweet, sticky honeydew, leaving behind a yellowish-green color.

Black sooty mold grows faster on leaves when they’re covered in sticky substance. Moreover, aphid infestation of young leaves may induce leaf deformity and malformation. Use a strong stream of water to eliminate as many greenflies as feasible from crape myrtle plants to get rid of aphids. In addition, you might introduce beneficial predators to help with pest outbreaks.

Diseases Affecting Crape Myrtle Growth

Powdery mildew used to be more prevalent in older types of crape myrtle plants. This issue of a powdery white substance appearing on leaves, however, is uncommon in newer cultivars. Powdery mildew isn’t harmful to the shrubs, which is fortunate. Leaf spot fungus is another kind of crape myrtle disease.

This fungal disease is spread by warm, wet weather and affects certain crape myrtle cultivars. Unfortunately, without the use of chemical sprays, it is difficult to get rid of this condition.

Types of Crape Myrtle Trees

Natchez Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’) — ‘Natchez’ crape myrtles grow between 20 and 30 feet (6 and 9 meters) tall, with clusters of yellow crinkled blooms.

‘Natchez’ crape myrtle

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Tuscarora’) — ‘Tuscarora’ crape myrtles grow up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall and have beautiful coral-pink flowers blooming in early summer.

‘Tuscarora’ crape myrtle

Acoma Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Acoma’) — The flowers of this dwarf ornamental tree are white and have a crepe paper-like feel. They grow to be around 10 feet (3 meters) tall.

‘Acoma’ crape myrtle

Sioux Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Sioux’) —Throughout the summer, clusters of ruffled bright pink blooms appear on ‘Sioux’ crape myrtles. This variety may reach a height of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters).

‘Sioux’ crape myrtle

Catawba Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’) —In late summer, this bushy tree-like plant produces purple panicles that bloom until the autumn season is over. ‘Catawba’ crape myrtles grow 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) tall.

‘Catawba’ crape myrtle

Types of Dwarf Crape Myrtle 

Petite Plum Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Monum’) — Light red to dark pink clusters of papery blooms appear on this dwarf crape myrtle. Up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, Petite Plum crape myrtles

‘Petite Plum’ crape myrtle

Petite Orchid Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Monhid’) — Crepe-paper flowers bloom on this small crape myrtle shrub cultivar, which is dark pink-purple in color. Little Orchid Lagerstroemia plants may reach 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height.

‘Petite Orchid’ crape myrtle

Types of Crape Myrtle Shrubs

Crape Myrtle ‘Delta Blush’ (Lagerstroemia indica ‘Delta Blush’) — The drooping branches of this tiny shrub produce light pink summer blooms. ‘Delta Blush’ crape myrtles only grow to be about 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) tall.

‘Delta Blush’ crape myrtle

Chickasaw Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Chickasaw’) — Chickasaw crape myrtles reach 2 feet (0.6 meters) tall and produce a profusion of lavender or pink flowers.

‘Chickasaw’ crape myrtle

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