crepe myrtle

Crepe Myrtle

Common name Crepe Myrtle
Botanical name Lagerstroemia indica
Family Lythraceae
Natural range India and southern Asia
Mature height Usually to 6m max
Form Broad spreading shrub/tree
Likes Full sunshine for flowering
Dislikes Too much water
Where to plant Feature tree in your garden
Known for Long-lasting summer blooms

A garden favourite

It’s hard to go past the Crepe Myrtle if you’re looking for a garden all-rounder. Easy to grow, not bothered if you forget to water it, long-lasting summer flowers and beautiful mottled timber as they grow older – the Crepe Myrtle ticks plenty of boxes.

Chosen for classic crepe-paper flowers

Differing cultivars produce a wide range of flowers, from white to red, pink and deep mauve. The flowers often last right through until Autumn and the petals are where these plants get their name. Each petal is like crepe paper, very wrinkly and crinkly. Keep in mind too, that these versatile plants can take a number of forms – low, spreading plant, small shrub, small tree or even a large tree.

A popular all-rounder

All Crepe Myrtles grow well in hot and dry climate, but will thrive in temperate zones also. They transplant well from a pot, or try finding bare-rooted plants in winter. Get them established with plenty of water, to ensure the root system develops well. Once established, Crepe Myrtles are remarkably drought-tolerant.

A tree more compatible with structures for a change

Best of all, these trees relatively suitable for planting near foundations and walkways because the roots are not strong, nor damaging to fixed structures. They form large networks of fine, fibrous roots rather than large, heavy penetrating surface roots.

Popular varieties

Some popular varieties include: ‘New Orleans’: grows in shrub-form, or standard and looks great in a large pot or courtyard garden; ‘Natchez‘: will eventually reach about 8m and has a clear, white flower plus spectacular markings on the trunk; ‘Yuma’: with fantastic mauve flowers; or ‘Houston’: low-growing variety (about 60-70cm high) that spreads out to maybe 1m wide.

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