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Crepe Myrtle Lagerstroemia

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Crepe Myrtle:

Phonetic Spelling
lah-ger-STROH-mee-ah
Description

Crape myrtle is a genus of 49 species and many cultivars of perennial, deciduous and evergreen shrubs or small trees with showy summer to fall blooms in the Loosestrife family. These species and cultivars vary in height (from 3 feet to more than 20), flower color, growth habit, and bloom season. Most cultivars are hybrids (the most common being a cross of Common Crape Myrtle with Japanese Crape Myrtle). The genus is named after the 18th century Swedish botanist Magnus von Lagerstroem who directed the Swedish East India Company and was a friend of Linnaeus. The common name refers to the crepe-papery inflorescences and the myrtle-like (Myrtus communis) features of the bark and foliage.

Crape myrtle does best in full sun and average medium moisture, well drained soil. The plant will tolerate loamy, clay soils with good drainage, but overly fertile soils tend to produce lush foliage at the expense of flowering. Water roots deeply, particularly in dry spells, but avoid wetting the foliage. Crape myrtle tends to do well in warm, Southern climates, but it may be wise to plant in a protected location and apply a winter mulch. If the plant fails, it is usually due to the lack of summer heat to encourage vigorous growth and harden the wood.

Crape myrtle, in general, are tough and cold hardy. In warmer areas many can be grown as trees, but in colder climates they may be killed to the ground and resprout to be grown more as shrubs. The plant can be hard pruned, but such pruning tends to produce poor form, fewer flowers, and poorly attached stems and shoots that tend to break off. If pruning is needed, it is best to do it by late summer to enable the new growth on which next year's blossoms appear to establish itself before winter.

The Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center has a factsheet on common pests and diseases.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Aphids and scale are occasional insect pests.  Powdery mildew and fungal leaf spot are common disease problems. Bark scale can infest bark, twigs, and leaves, but infected limbs can be removed to control the pest. If planted in alkaline soils, the leaves will show chlorosis (yellowing). Winter injury, particularly to top growth, may occur in USDA Zones 5 and 6.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Mountain Ridge Top Garden - North Lawn and Upper Drive Border Floricyle A Sampling of Shade Gardens Mountain Ridge Top Garden - East Lawn and Lower Drive Border
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Acoma', 'Apache', 'Bellini' series, 'Bicolor', 'Biloxi', 'Chickasaw', 'Choctaw', 'Comanche', 'Country Red', 'Dazzle' series, 'Gamad I', 'Gamad V', 'JD818', 'JD827", 'JD900', 'Lafayette', 'Mardi Gras', 'Natchez', 'New Orleans', 'Osage', 'Pixie White', 'Pocomoke', 'Ruby Dazzle', 'Sioux', 'Tonto', 'Victor', 'Yuma'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#deciduous shrub#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#flowering shrub#multicolored#perennial
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Acoma', 'Apache', 'Bellini' series, 'Bicolor', 'Biloxi', 'Chickasaw', 'Choctaw', 'Comanche', 'Country Red', 'Dazzle' series, 'Gamad I', 'Gamad V', 'JD818', 'JD827", 'JD900', 'Lafayette', 'Mardi Gras', 'Natchez', 'New Orleans', 'Osage', 'Pixie White', 'Pocomoke', 'Ruby Dazzle', 'Sioux', 'Tonto', 'Victor', 'Yuma'
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#deciduous shrub#flowering tree#air pollution tolerant#flowering shrub#multicolored#perennial
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lagerstroemia
    Family:
    Lythraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical and subtropical Asia, India, Northern Australia
    Distribution:
    Eastern United States from Maryland to Florida, west to Texas, Cuba, Puerto Rico
    Wildlife Value:
    Food plant of some moth and butterfly larvae.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-trunked
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a capsule, green and succulent at first, but ripening to dark brown or black. It splits open and releases numerous, small, winged seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Crape myrtles are noted for colorful, long-lasting flowers of a variety of colors except blue, that blossom in spring and summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are opposite or alternate, simple with entire margins. Size will vary with species from 2 to 8 inches.
  • Bark:
    Surface/Attachment:
    Peeling
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Sinewy, fluted stems and branches, mottled due to periodic shedding of the bark.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Flowering Tree
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Pollution