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Crape Myrtles: Varieties, Tips and Tricks

Crape Myrtles: Varieties, Tips and Tricks

Summer blooming plants that are finally starting to show off their beauty, especially Crape Myrtles. They’re often mistaken for spring blooming trees, but they’re worth the wait. Once they start blooming in the summer, they don’t stop until the fall.

And we have a variety of sizes, ranging from ones that grow 30 feet tall to 5 feet tall. Some even grow in containers and can be brought indoors for the winter.

1. The Red Rocket Crape Myrtle

Red Rocket Crape Myrtles reach upwards towards the sky and explode with hundreds of bright red blooms. It’s like they put on a constant 4th of July show, from early July into September. One of the most popular Crape Myrtles, it grows quite tall – 20 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide.

Their foliage and blooms will join together to create a solid wall, with bright red blooms popping against lush green foliage. And in the winter ,when the leaves have dropped, sunshine will shine through to warm your yard.

Crape Myrtles

 

2. The Muskogee Crape Myrtle

For hundreds of delightfully soft purple blooms, check out the Muskogee Crape. It’s a smaller growing crape variety that reaches 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. Best of all, it create a dense privacy screen, with alluring purple blooms in a sea of green leaves. And the Muskogee has the longest blooming period of all Crape Myrtles, with a blooming period of 120 days. Muskogees brighten up gardens and landscapes for months, inviting the gazes of family and neighbors to enjoy their beauty.

 

3. The Strawberry Dazzle Crape Myrtle

Bright hot pink blooms for months. Not only is the Strawberry Dazzle Crape prized for its abundance of eye-catching, vibrant blooms, but it’s often desired for its smaller size. One of the more compact Crape Myrtles, it grows to 4 to 5 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide.

Because of this, this compact tree fits perfectly into any landscape, without the need for constant pruning to maintain its size. Another great feature of the Strawberry Dazzle Crape is its ability to grow extremely well in containers. This tree can be used to frame entryways, and to decorate the porches or patios.

Colorful Crape Myrtles

 

4. The Natchez Crape

The Natchez Crape Myrtle quickly takes off and reaches for the sky once planted, with its accelerated growth rate of 3 to 5 feet per year. These Crape Myrtles quickly jump up to their mature size, between 20 to 30 feet tall and about 20 feet wide.

The Natchez is a large crape variety that sports pure white blooms from June until September. The white cottony blooms burst against a backdrop of lush, green leaves, attracting the attention of numerous spectators. Natchez Crapes are another excellent choice for privacy screens if planted 8 to 10 feet apart.

 

Crape Myrtles: Care

Crape Myrtles can tolerate an area that’s partially shaded but will have more blooms if they receive full sunlight. Also, they aren’t picky about their soil. Crape Myrtles will flourish in a variety of poor soils, whether they are sandy or heavy with clay. Just make sure that the soil is well-draining. These vigorous growers don’t like a lot of water, so avoid planting them in an area that’s prone to flooding or that collects a lot of standing water.

In the summer, your trees won’t need any extra water unless you receive less than an inch of rain water per week. Feel your soil – if it feels dry, give your trees a slow, deep watering by holding a hose at their bases and counting to 20 seconds. Furthermore, spreading a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the bases of your trees will help them retain moisture and keep them from quickly drying out.

Generally, Crape Myrtles don’t need any fertilizer, but if you decide to give your tree a boost, give it some organic fertilizer once a year in the early spring. Use a well-balanced fertilizer, like formula 10-10-10, to boost growth and blooms. A fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen will boost more growth, while a formula that is high in phosphorous will boost the blooms.

Prune your Crape Myrtles in the early spring to promote new growth for summer. If you’re wanting to maintain their natural size, it’s best to prune them back by about a third of growth. It’s common for people to think that they need to heavily prune back down to half or more of their growth, but this stunts the tree’s growth and gives it an unattractive look.

Once blooms have spent, people have the natural instinct to remove the brown flower pods. But you don’t have to remove them, since Crape Myrtles are self-cleaning. However, if you’d still like to remove, simply pluch them in order to help your trees produce more blooms faster.

 

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