Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle is a fast-growing, small to medium-sized, deciduous tree that produces large, colorful flowers over a long period from midsummer to fall. The foliage is attractive in fall and the textured bark provides winter interest. Another common name is southern lilac.

About This Plant

Crape myrtle is a handsome tree that does best in warm summer areas. Flower colors include pink, red, purple, and white, depending on the variety. Most grow 15 to 25 feet tall and wide, with some shorter varieties growing only 3 to 5 feet tall. Dwarf varieties can be grown in containers.

Special Features

Four-season interest

Site Selection

Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil.

Care

Apply a layer of compost under the tree each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches). Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds, keeping mulch a few inches away from the tree trunk. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Flowers are produced on new wood, so prune back weak, spindly growth in spring to encourage better flowering. Prune off dead, diseased, and broken branches anytime.

Other Plant Care Guides in Trees, Shrubs and Vines
Arborvitae
Beautyberry
Butterfly Bush
Crab Apple
Crape Myrtle
Dianthus
Dogwood
Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Gardenia
Heavenly Bamboo
Hibiscus
Holly
Honeysuckle
Hydrangea
Lilac
Mockorange
Ninebark
Oleander
Plumeria
Rhododendron
Rose
Rose of Sharon
Smoketree / Smokebush
Spirea
Viburnum
Wisteria

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Article published on May 10, 2005.

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