Every year around this time in Middle Tennessee, really handsome- trunked trees begin to bloom in shades from hot pink to lavender to white. Their canopy of color and wide range of size make them a popular choice for homeowners looking for a great ornamental tree or focal point in their garden. Let’s talk about some of the things that make Crape Myrtles a winner and wonderful addition to your landscape.
So you are thinking about a crape myrtle but you want to know more about these trees. Probably the next two things to determine are what bloom color you would prefer and what size limitations you are working with, along with learning general care for these trees (pretty much- plant them well, give ’em plenty of sun, and water them while they’re getting established and you’ll have a healthy, happy little tree growing!).
Like I mentioned above, Crape myrtles come in a (huge) variety of sizes (did I mention, huge?) You can have your crape myrtle top out anywhere between 3-15′ tall, or if you want a “big daddy” (just kidding, don’t go to your local nursery asking for a big daddy crape myrtle ), some grow to be up to 30′ tall! It just depends on the variety you’d like.
This year, we are offering some sweet smaller shrub- type crape myrtles that only reach 3-5′ tall. One is a hot pinkish bloom and another has a red bloom (picture below).
8-15′ tall is a great in-between size if you are looking to put one of these beauties as a smaller but prominent focal point in your yard. We offer several varieties in this size range.
If you are looking for a large crape myrtle, there are several types that get to be 20-30′ tall, including the popular ‘Natchez’ variety that has beautiful, creamy white blooms.
The fun part, to me, is deciding the color! Are you looking for a hot pink bloom? Pale pink? Lightest of purples? A vibrant purple? Creamy white? Bright red? There are many different choices for great color with crape myrtles!
These trees don’t just burst into gorgeous color only in the summertime; they also have excellent foliage color in the fall. Their leaves turn beautiful shades of reddish orange!!
And even though these trees lose their leaves in the winter, after a few years of being planted, they develop a strikingly beautiful bark that brings great interest even with no leaves in the winter time.
So you’ve brought one of these pretty trees home with you, now what do you do with it after you plant it? Well, as you were probably informed at the nursery, crape myrtles are happy little guys that don’t require a whole lot of fuss.
The first summer he is planted in the ground, you will want to keep him watered pretty regular, especially if we are not getting much rain.
The first year, the tree will be establishing roots, so blooming won’t be as proficient the first summer and that’s completely normal. Next summer, your little crape myrtle will have probly grown close to a foot and will have gorgeous big blooms on him!
Trimming- many people like for the crape myrtle to be more tree-like, and therefore prefer to keep three to five branches from the base of the trunk. Others prefer to keep the tree natural and allow the new shoots to grow that come up at the base, eventually having several branches coming up from the base. It is personal preference, no way is better than the other, so feel free to do what you like regarding that. Any trimming you decide to do, wait until late winter to do so when the tree is dormant.
Crape myrtles, generally, are pretty disease free. Keep them in a hot, sunny place, and they are happy as a clam.
What has been your experience with growing Crape Myrtles? Share your thoughts!