Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) are beautiful small trees and shrubs all year with small glossy foliage, showy buds and blooms, great fall color, and attractive bark. Newer Crape myrtle varieties offer a wide palette of flower and foliage colors, with disease resistance, extended bloom period, and cold hardiness. The typical vase-shaped of Crape myrtles work well with layers of other plants below their canopy in the garden. Most are naturally multi-stemmed, but single-trunk tree forms are available as well.
Some of the best Crape myrtle options for our area include the following:
Arapaho is a small tree with dark pinkish red buds that burst open to raspberry red flowers. It has dark green leaves tinged with maroon, and grows to 20 feet tall.
Hopi is a large rounded shrub that grows to 10 feet tall. It is consistently the earliest to flower in our area—often by mid-July. Flowering continues through early fall, even in cooler than average summers.
Natchez is a beautiful tree with white flowers and an upright vase-shaped form. It grows to 25 to 30 feet tall.
Red Rocket is a small tree growing to 20 feet tall, with huge trusses of bright red flowers. During cooler weather, the flowers may open with flecks of white, before changing to their final color.
Tuskegee offers spectacular flower color and an unusual wide-spreading habit, growing to 20 feet tall and eventually as wide. It produces vibrant dark pink flowers.
Wichita grows to 25 feet tall. It has an upright habit with a widely spreading crown. It has long tapered trusses of lavender flowers.
Crape myrtle care and maintenance
Crape myrtles are low maintenance landscape plants, but they do have some cultural requirements. For Crape myrtles to thrive, plant them in full sun in a warm location, with good air circulation. They need heat and sun, and require a certain number of hours above 85⁰ F to commence flowering typically in mid to late summer. Once flowering begins, it can last for a month or more.
While Crape myrtles are considered drought tolerant, they still require regular summer irrigation for the best blooms. It is especially important for young plants to receive consistent moisture to develop a healthy root system.
Pruning of Crape myrtles should be carefully done or avoided altogether, to preserve the natural beauty of these graceful trees. If desired, gently shape the branches to enhance their natural character and improve air circulation. Another appealing quality of these plants is their small leaves are easy to manage, disappearing into the garden bed once the brilliant fall display of orange and red is over.
When do Crape myrtles bloom?
Crape myrtles bloom in mid-to late summer. They need heat and sun, and depending on the variety require a minimum number of hours above 85⁰ F to commence flowering. Once flowering begins it can last for a month or more.
How fast do Crape myrtles grow?
Crape myrtles are typically slow to moderate growing plants.
How big do Crape myrtles get?
Crape myrtle trees can grow 10 to 30 feet tall, although most varieties grow to about 20 feet tall. Smaller shrub varieties are available as well, making Crape myrtles an excellent plant option that will fit in many landscapes.
Contact us to learn more
If you would like to add a small tree with four seasons of beauty to your landscape, a Crape myrtle could be a great choice. We can help you select the best variety for your landscape.
Blessing Landscapes can help you select the right plants for your property. To learn more, contact us to speak with one of our landscape professionals.