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Crape Myrtle

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. The crape myrtle is a

Crape myrtle is a flowering tree with multiple large, showy flower panicles in electric colors that sizzle across the branches-pink, purple, red-violet, and white. Crape myrtle is a broad-crowned deciduous tree that is variable in size, averaging about 20 to 25 feet, but potentially taller. Dwarf forms are also available.

Often multistemmed, it has smooth, sculptured gray bark that gently exfoliates, showing multishaded underbark. Dappled shade allows for the growth of complementary ground covers beneath its leaf canopy. The petals are crinkled, like crepe paper, and appear recurrently July through September.

How to grow: Transplant container-grown or balled-and-burlapped plants into slightly acidic, well-drained soil. The crape myrtle will not flower well in the shade, where it is subject to powdery mildew. It can get tip blight if planted too far north. Encourage recurrent blooms by tip pruning spent flowers.

Uses: Used as a tree or shrub, crape myrtle is a good choice as a specimen plant, for borders, or to plant near a corner of the house.

Scientific name: Lagerstroemia indica

Want more information? Try these:

  • Shade Trees. Towering overhead, shade trees can complement even the biggest house, and define the amount of sunlight that reaches your yard.
  • Fast-Growing Trees. To make an immediate impact on your landscape, turn to these rapidly-soaring trees, which will reach for the sky right away.
  • Specimen Trees. These trees stand out for their beauty, height, and shade. They're the star of any garden.

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