This is Tonte. It looks a bit different than the previous post doesn’t it? The light of day can change as can your monitor or a thousand things. Here are some of the Crapemyrtles I like to group together. I’m not fond of the orange red but any of the pinks will do. Most Crapemyrtles grow between 15 and 25 feet. There are a few dwarf ranging from 3ft to 10ft and their popularity is growing. I have had a variety of them at one home or another. NC loves Crapemyrtles.
The common Crapemyrtle Lagerstromeria indica is native to Asia and was introduced to the US in 1747. It is most likely this one you see growing beside the older homes in our area of NC. There are several growing on the land of my great great, grandparents who built their home in early 1800’s. There are hundreds of these varieties today bred for variation in size, flower color, and growth habit. A Japenese Crapemyrtle, Lagerstromeria faurel was introduced in the 1950’s. It was cold hardy, had beautiful trunk coloration, and was resistant to powdery mildew. Mr. Don Eglof of the National Arboretum bred the faurel and indica and came up with several varieties that have beautiful traits of both parents. The tall Natchez is the most popular. The Natchez is white and has grown to 30 feet in my garden. I purchased one last year for my new home.
The Muskogee below is one of two that survived the transfer from my former home to the new one. It survived being dug out of the ground without proper roots, starved of water and nutritious soil, and scorched by the sun. I thought it had died for sure when I transplanted it to the new bed closer to the house. But it sprouted new growth without losing a single bit of mature growth. I think that is amazing. I have also seen these trees transplanted after being scalped and moved at the wrong time. I guess Mr. Eglof had a lot of faith in them.
Above is Muskogee and grows to about 20ft to 25ft. It is planted in three places in my yard. Two of them are right out the back parallel to my screened porch. When they get large, it will be a beautiful sight while sitting on my back swing.
It is best to get one of the new hybrids. I still get powdery mildew on a few of the varieties but some are more resistant than others. The Clemson site will help you understand all the different growing conditions along with shapes and sizes. I find they do the best in full hot sun with lots of air circulation. They grow well in parking lots. I guess they don’t mind that hot pavement and narrow growing space. I’m always amazed that anything will grow in a spot like that.
Here are a few pictures from my computer of several that have grown in my yard over the years. I will not try and name them all as light condition can really vary a variety. You need to see one blooming to get the right color. Buy them when they bloom which is usually July to frost for my zone 7 garden.
I wanted to mention also that I have never had mildew kill one of my Crapemyrtles. It has never affected the bloom either. It’s just a nuisance and makes the leaves look grey. Crapemyrtles are also a good choice if you are looking for Autumn foliage and beautiful bark. All the varieties are different.
Look!!!! I found a Watermelon Red for you from my little Cape Cod home I just moved from. Oh my goodness I love this tree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen mildew on it. And I dug up many a sucker offspring to start another. I wonder if they new folks will let me come get a few. If they knew I was doing them a favor……they would appreciate my offer.
You do need to trim any of the suckers off the bottom and the lower branches too if you want a tree and not a bush. Who would care if this bushed though! Oh I want this again. If I be good God, can I have one!
I have never noticed these beautiful blooms to be bothered by a rain storm. Crapemyrtle blooms might get a bit beat up but not like you would think. They aren’t like a the large blooms of azaleas that are ruined after such an event.
Evidence the thing loves a tough spot. This is the drought—new grass–super hot days. My grass looks tons better now and has filled in nicely. But look at this little guy. It is a small tree growing to only 15 feet. I needed it to be small for the space but I needed it to be wide for some privacy to our master bathroom and that private porch off the end. You can bet that your Crapemyrtle no matter the size will bloom its little fool head off just like this.
They like zones 7-10. Please see the chart at the Clemson site for the chart on soil ph and zones. It is a pdf file. I’m not even going to start the conversation on what is the best pruning method. They do seem to bloom better if you trim off the old pods. But a Natchez will get huge and I’m not hiring anyone to do it. I ‘ll keep the bottom suckers and off shoots tamed. My old one bloomed just fine being left alone.
There is also a debate on the proper method of trimming the tops and bases. I prefer to choose a few odd numbered trunks to remain. I also prefer to trim them the long way verses the chopped off method. Long means leaving a few very long healthy looking stems and cut off the side little branches. Some people give them a crew cut. If you give a crew cut they are pretty too and look like fountains. You better have real strong trunks if you give the crew cut and buzz off the tops!
I didn’t answer the question about what to call them did I. That’s because all are used and most are accepted. It’s a heated debate among Southerners. I was raised by an aunt who would call it a Lagerstromeria and a grandmother who called it a Crepe Myrtle. My Northern friends call it a Crapemyrtle and my western friends call it a Crepemyrtle. All have corrected me at some point in time. That is what I get for living all over the USA. I love it. And you thought I didn’t know;)