News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Crepe Myrtles actually get their common name from these flowers; the small, delicate petals are wrinkled and highly resemble crêpe paper.
Did You Know?
There are nearly fifty varieties of Crepe Myrtles world-wide, though only about half a dozen are commonly seen in the South.
In addition to their colorful flowers, Crepe Myrtles have pretty colorful foliage, too. In the summer, the 2- to 8-inch long leaves are a deep, vibrant green, and in the fall, they can change to stunning reds, yellows, and oranges. An early cold snap or overnight freeze can actually lock the leaves into their green color, effectively canceling the show, but that’s rarely a problem we have down here in the South.
Crepe Myrtles are great to have around in the winter months, even though they will be bare of leaves and flowers, thanks to their beautiful bark. It’s what’s called “exfoliating” bark, which basically means it has two layers; the thin, grey outer layer is what exfoliates and flakes away, which exposes the smooth inner layer that can also be grey, or lean more towards brown.
One of the higher points of appeal of Crepe Myrtles is the wide range of sizes available.
In addition to the different sizes, Crepe Myrtles are versatile in both shape and function.
Whatever shape you go for, remember the golden rule of pruning: don’t prune too much!
Thou shalt not murder, and that includes Crepe Murder!
When it comes to caring for your Crepe Myrtle, most have the same needs regarding resources like sun and water. They love the warmer weather and need at least 6 hours of full sun every day—the more sun exposure they get, the more blooms they’ll grow! They’re fairly drought-resistant once firmly established, but are nearly always thirsty when newly planted. Be sure to sufficiently water any new additions to your landscape twice a week until they’ve officially set up shop.
While we’ve already stressed the importance of avoiding Crepe Murder, it is still important to prune your tree, even if you’re not going for any particular shape or size. By trimming off dead and dying blooms, you can get new ones to take their place. If you’re diligent, you could end up with three or even four full blooms in one year! Whether you choose to do that or not, you’ll still want to be sure to trim off the dead blooms once fall rolls around, to ensure plenty of flowers next year. You can also trim the fruit if you like, to prevent the littering of seeds (and subsequent pavement staining). It’s recommended to trim away twiggy and cross growth on an established tree, mostly to keep the beautiful bark exposed and prevent overcrowding.
You’ll also want to double-check the size; you don’t want to end up with a 30-foot-tall, 20-foot-wide behemoth when you were hoping for a 2-foot dwarf bush in a planter. If you do intend on getting a larger tree, remember that it will need enough clearance to avoid power lines and buildings. You’ll also want to account for the roots; Crepe Myrtle roots are usually flexible and soft, meaning they aren’t likely to grow through any pipes or break through your sidewalk, but they do spread pretty far and suck up water and nutrients like a vacuum, so they can present competition for other nearby flora.
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.
Beginners Guide to Crepe Myrtles
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Light Purple Crepe Myrtle
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Purple Crape Myrtle
Red Crape Myrtle
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