Crape Myrtles (generally spelled Crepe Myrtles) are shrubs or small bushes which can be broadly grown in hotter areas for his or her massive, dramatic and colourful flowers that are produced all summer season. Their vivid colours are daring within the brightest daylight and these rapid-growing crops will rapidly convey your backyard alive. They’re simple to develop and a few can develop as much as 5 ft a yr, so not like another crops that want endurance to be seen at their finest, Crape Myrtle bushes will quickly develop into substantial crops that can give your new backyard a really feel of maturity.
They develop finest in hotter areas and have been grown within the South for hundreds of years, the place they’re related to lengthy, scorching days, mint juleps on the porch and the brightness of a southern summer season. Lots of the newer varieties, nonetheless, are frost-hardy; so for the primary time that southern colour could be seen in northern gardens. Most Crapes are tolerant of many sorts of soils, drought-resistant and simply ask for a sunny spot to develop in to convey their radiance to your backyard. Not solely are they colourful all summer season lengthy, however they’ve beautiful fall colour too, and infrequently engaging bark and colourful spring leaves as properly, so they bring about curiosity to your backyard all yr spherical.
Utilizing Crape Myrtles on Your Property
They arrive in quite a lot of sizes, from medium shrubs to small bushes, so there’s a selection that can fulfill your wants. As properly, with pruning, they are often modified in peak and in addition was small bushes that are glorious garden specimens for smaller gardens. So they’ll match properly right into a border of shrubs or stand alone as a specimen in a garden, beside a driveway, as a part of the inspiration planting round your home, or as a spectacular hedge and display. Irrespective of the dimensions of our property, from a couple of sq. ft to a number of acres, these bushes have so much to supply the gardener who loves colour with out quite a lot of work – and isn’t that each gardener?
Look of Crape Myrtles
Lagastroemia are shrubs or small bushes which have a number of major stems and arching higher branches, which finish in huge sprays of flowers. They kind bigger shrubs or smaller bushes between 5 and 25 ft tall, relying on the range, pruning strategies and site. The bark is mottled and often grey-pink in colour; a few of the newer varieties, just like the Natchez, have particularly stunning bark which is mottled in grey, brown and maroon shades.
The leaves are as much as Four inches lengthy and a couple of inches broad, with easy edges and a wholesome, shiny look. They’re inexperienced in summer season and switch purple or yellow in fall, however a few of the newer varieties have engaging coloured leaves in spring too, just like the Dynamite Crape, which can also be particularly beneficial for its notably good fall colour.
The spectacular flowers have been initially lavender-pink, however hard-working Crape breeders have produced varieties which cowl the spectrum from white, vivid pink, lavender, purple, deep pink to shades of good purple. The person crape flowers are 1 or 2 inches throughout, with many petals, however they’re clustered collectively into massive heads as much as 14 inches lengthy, which kind on the ends of the branches.
The burden of the flowers causes the branches to arch over, giving the plant a sublime, relaxed look. In hotter areas flowering can begin as early as Might and proceed proper as much as frost, however they’re at their finest in summer season, when most different flowers are completed blooming, which makes them particularly useful for maintaining flowers in your backyard for as many months as potential.
Crape Myrtle Hardiness and Rising Circumstances
Most varieties develop in zones 7, eight and 9, from Virginia all through the South, and from Texas throughout to California and proper up the west coast. As soon as established they’ll develop properly in dry situations in addition to regular soil. In truth, you probably have soil that’s at all times moist they aren’t a good selection, except you’ll be able to plant in a better space away from the water.
For a few years these bushes have been related to the South and hotter areas, however in recent times quite a lot of work has been completed to make them hardier and most varieties can now be grown in zone 6 and even into zone 5. In these areas the branches will die within the winter however they’ll rapidly re-sprout from the bottom in spring and infrequently develop as a lot as 5 ft tall in a single season. As a result of they flower on the ends of their new shoots these crops will flower simply in addition to their southern neighbors however after all they won’t develop as tall. So you’ll be able to plant them amongst smaller shrubs and even perennial flowers and they’re going to look spectacular.
As a complete, most Crapes do finest in full solar and though they’ll develop in shade they’ll flower much less and be extra topic to illness, so should you don’t have a sunny backyard and are on the lookout for summer season flower colour, you may take into account Hydrangeas, that are additionally spectacular and really shade tolerant. As for soil, every kind of soils are high-quality for them, together with alkaline and clay soils.
Planting Crape Myrtles
Solar: Plant in full solar. Modest entry to afternoon partial shade works for a lot of species.
Water: Water instantly after planting and as soon as per week for the primary yr (each 5-7 days). Most crops will discover weekly rainfall enough.
When to Plant: Plant in early spring or late fall.
It is crucial when planting each the tree and shrub model to not plant any deeper than the containers they’re in and to not cowl the roots with quite a lot of soil. So dig a gap two or 3 times wider than the pot, however no deeper. Place your crape within the gap, change a lot of the soil and agency it down properly.
Then water totally. When the water has drained away change the remainder of the soil, being cautious to not cowl the roots of the Crape with any further soil. For the primary season be sure you water properly as soon as every week in order that the roots can unfold out, however after that your crops will solely want water throughout very prolonged dry intervals. Throughout summer season attempt to not spray the foliage of your Crape Myrtles with water, which solely encourages illness.
Mulch and Fertilizer
Mulch and fertilizer present help to plant improvement. Fertilizers will help compensate for poor soil. Mulch does this as properly, whereas additionally growing the water retention and air passage to the plant’s root programs.
Fertilizer is usually pointless with Crape Myrtles. If fertilizers are wanted within the planting area, both because of excessive acidity or baseness of the soil or poor macro-/micro-nutrient numbers, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. These are often marked with a set of numbers (10-10-10, 20-20-20, and so forth.). This refers back to the stability of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Mulch is useful when planting Crape Myrtles. A skinny 2-inch layer masking a three-foot radius across the tree will assist retain water. Mulch additionally assists with water conservation, primarily ending extra water run-off.
Most Crape Myrtle Timber are drought-tolerant. That is important for bushes that take pleasure in full solar in dry, scorching places. Crape Myrtles do require water to current their gorgeous blooms. If water within the area is scarce, both for brief or in depth intervals of time, present irrigation providers to the plant. Water the bushes as soon as per week if rainfall is lower than an inch. The easiest way to keep up correct watering ranges is to look at the tree. If the leaves are withered or crispy, typically a single heavy watering could be helpful.
Factors of Curiosity
The widespread crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was first delivered to Charleston, South Carolina round 1790 from its pure house in China and Korea. It thrived within the heat local weather there and has lengthy been an emblem of summer season within the South, with its vivid blooms. From these unique crops many varieties have been bred, typically by crossing this plant with the Japanese Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei).
The unique Lagastroemia have been white or lavender however many breeders have labored laborious to introduce great new colours. Dr Carl Whitcomb, a well-known professor and plant breeder, stand out amongst these breeders. He’s liable for a complete new technology of types which have eclipsed the older varieties. A lot of his crops have exploded onto the gardening scene and are thought of among the many finest and hottest Crapes obtainable. The Dynamite, with its speedy development and incredible purple flowers is a particular favourite, as too is his beautiful Pink Velour.
Crape Myrtle Tree Varieties and Cultivars
There are many various Crape Myrtle species, although these hottest and easy-to-grow in the USA are listed under. Lots of the species are native to different areas of the world, reminiscent of India, southeast Asia, northern Australia, and Europe. With varieties starting from a couple of inches to tall to over 100 ft tall, a Crepe Myrtle exists to swimsuit the wants of many landscaping adventures.
Pink Velour Crape
These Crape Myrtles are widespread for quite a lot of causes. Pink Velour Crapes are drought-resistant with deep pink blossoms. These bushes could be planted both individually, as accent ornamentals, or in rows 4-5 ft aside as privateness screens.
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle
Tuscarora Crepe Myrtles are restricted to zones 7 by way of 9, although their coral-colored blooms are sometimes envied elsewhere. Adaptable to poor soil and restricted water, Tuscaroras do finest when planted with full solar. This selection can also be fast-growing, reaching between three and 5 ft of latest development every rising season.
Purple Rocket Crape
Purple Rocket Crepes develop properly by way of a bigger area of the USA than many different varieties: zones 6 by way of 9. The vivacious purple blooms are the fastest-growing Crepe Myrtle, typically rising greater than 5 ft a yr. The mature peak of the Purple Rocket Crepe Myrtle is between 20 and 30 ft tall.
The chic Natchez Crepe Myrtle shows pure white blooms for lengthy lengths of the summer season, from June to September. The Natchez Crepe can also be widespread due to its fast-growth, which could be between three and 5 ft a yr. The Natchez’s bark can also be distinctive, providing a shimmery-brown all year long.
Catawba Crape Myrtle
The Catawba Crape Myrtle has darkish lavender coloured blossoms that start within the late spring. The cone-shaped bloom clusters weigh heavy on the branches, inflicting the boughs to bend towards the bottom. Regardless of this, the Catawba Crepe Myrtle reaches a average peak between 10 and 15 ft tall.
Twilight Crape Myrtle
The Twilight Crepe Myrtle is a favourite amongst landscapers. Vibrant purple blooms are paired with a grayish-brown bark that peels to show a pinkish undercoat. The low-maintenance Twilight Crepe Myrtle reaches between 20 and 25 ft tall, although some landscapers select to prune this Crepe to a smaller-sized shrub or hedge.
Lengthy-term Care with Crepe Myrtles
As a result of they’re so hardy and drought-resistant, after getting planted your tree there may be not a lot to do however sit again and watch the fireworks. If you wish to produce a tree-form Crepe, simply prune away the decrease branches of the Crepe progressively till your tree is the peak you need it to be.
The bushes usually develop a number of trunks, however with a bit of consideration a single trunk could be produced. If you want, take away the flower heads as they die, as it will encourage much more new flowers to kind. Through the winter, lengthy shoots of the Crepe could be reduce to manage the peak of your tree if wanted, and to develop a bushier crown.
In case your Crepe is in too shady a spot, has often moist foliage or whereas rising throughout very humid climate it might develop a illness referred to as mildew. It is a white development that coats the leaves. It does no hurt and subsequent yr the brand new development will probably be clear and wholesome. Many of the new types of Lagastroemia have been developed to be extra immune to this illness so it’s often not a lot of a priority.
In case you stay in an space the place this illness may be very prevalent, the Nationwide Arboretum in Washington DC has a particular program to develop mildew-resistant types of bushes for simply these areas. The Natchez is certainly one of their varieties and is particularly beneficial if mildew is a probable downside.
A Stunning Shrub for Hotter Climates
Crepe Myrtles are nice shrubs or small bushes for sunny places in hotter areas that can convey good colour to the summer season months and infrequently flower proper as much as the primary frost. With their wide selection of colours and sizes they need to be in each heat backyard and with newer varieties being hardy even into zone 5 they’ll convey pleasure and sweetness to cooler areas as properly.