Plant of the Week: Crape Myrtle

Southern Living calls Crape Myrtles an “essential southern plant” and with good reason! These trees and shrubs provide beauty and interest year-round! Blooming begins in mid to late June and lasts for up to 100 days! Those blooms come in various shades of pink, purple, red and white. Once fall sets in, the color show continues with gorgeous fall leaf color before winter reveals it’s uniquely striped bark.

Sizing varies depending on variety, with some shrubs varieties reaching no more than 5-6 feet tall and some trees reaching up to 30 feet. Crape Myrtles shrubs are great for mass plantings, smaller trees to line a driveway or make a garden bed pop and enjoy the shade offered by larger trees like Natchez!

Care

Full sun, at least 6 hours per day.

Moist, well-draining soil. Established Crape Myrtles are moderately drought tolerant.

Crape Myrtles prefer slightly acidic soil, between 6.0 and 6.5.

You may notice Crape Myrtles being heavily pruned with branches cut back all the way to the trunk. This practice is known as “Crape Murder.” Pruning this way not only looks horrible but can lead to increase susceptibility to disease as well as plant death. Crape Myrtles can be pruned the same way as other trees by removing cross branches, thinning as needed and moderate shaping. To prevent the need for “Crape Murder,” select a tree that will fit your location at full size.

Feed in spring and fall with an acidic fertilizer like HollyTone.

Some of Our Favorites

Centennial Spirit

Centennial Spirit – Averaging 10 to 20 feet tall, this tree variety features dark pink flowers.

Pink Velour

Pink Velour – With hot pink flowers, Pink Velour is a showy variety that can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree. Averages 8 to 10 feet tall.

Purple Magic

Purple Magic – Another variety that can be grown as a tree or a shrub, Purple Magic’s light purple flowers really pop against their dark green leaves. 6 to 10 feet at maturity.

Natchez

Natchez – One of the largest varieties of Crape Myrtle, Natchez can reach between 20 and 30 feet tall at maturity. White flowers.

Pocomoke

Pocomoke – A shrub variety that features light pink flowers. Averages 3 to 5 feet tall and wide.