Shrubs with such generous summer blooms are few and far between. This is an excellent reason to adopt the Indian crape myrtle. In the less clement regions, it can be grown in a container or use the new varieties which are more rustic.
In this article, I have gathered for you all the information about the crape myrtle shrub, its main characteristics, and what you need to know to plant and grow it.
Characteristics of the crape myrtle tree
|Scientific name||Lagerstroemia indica|
|Rusticity||-8 to -10°C (-46 to 50°F)|
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:||6 to 9|
The lagerstroemia indica is a small tree of 3 to 5 m in height, often cultivated and used as a shrub because of its medium vigor.
From its young age, it produces a smooth and slightly knotty wood, very soft to the touch. Its numerous small oval leaves are illuminated at the end of spring and in summer by erect and dense terminal clusters, gathering a large quantity of small brightly colored flowers.
Before their fall, in autumn, the leaves take on a beautiful red hue.
How to grow a crape myrtle tree
The crape myrtle needs rich and fresh ground, well exposed, and a lot of sun to bloom well.
When its growth is slowed down by poorly controlled cultural conditions (in particular a lack of water and nutrients), the weakened plant is prone to oidium attacks, which must be treated as soon as the first symptoms appear.
Pruning in February-March consists in reducing by three quarters the length of the current year’s branches, taking care not to touch the old wood.
How to grow a lagerstoemia indica in pot
Repot in a pot of 40 cm of diameter at least a plant bought in a container of 4 to 5 liters, in a rich mixture, for example a compost for roses. For regular flowering, take care of the watering and keep the soil fresh permanently between March and October.
Prefer dwarf crape myrtle or with small development.
Where to plant a crape myrtle shrub
You will generally find the crape myrtle in stem or in tuft to finish forming an airy bouquet. Plant it in isolation, in bed by varying the colors, or in pot. Place it on a lawn that will emphasize it and flower its base of annuals.
About fifty varieties of Lagerstroemia indica are commonly proposed in the trade, the only criterion of choice being the color of their flowers:
- From white (‘Kimono‘)
- Red (‘Dallas Red’, ‘Yangtze‘)
- Shades of pink and lilac (‘Jacqueline Desmartis‘, ‘Montbazillac‘, ‘Aliénor d’Aquitaine‘)
- Without forgetting the purplish ones (‘Terre Chinoise‘, ‘Souvenir d’Hubert
You will be spoilt for choice.
In 1956, L. faurei was discovered in Japan, more resistant to cold. Crossings between this botanical species and L. indica resulted in hybrids L. x egolfi, more rustic, and resistant to – 20°C. They are also less prone to cryptogamic diseases and their blooming lasts until October.
Plant ‘Natchez‘ and ‘Sarah’s Favorite‘, pure white, ‘Muskegee‘, lilac pink, or ‘Tuskegee‘, dark pink to red.
For growing in pots, look to dwarf varieties:
- ‘Red Imperator‘, red
- ‘Petite Pink‘, pink.
The crape myrtle is a magnificent shrub that deserves a prominent place in any garden. With its eye-catching blooms in a rainbow of colors, it is the perfect addition to create an oasis of beauty and serenity.
So, go ahead and embrace the beauty of the crape myrtle, and enjoy a garden that is both peaceful and stunning.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.