Tuesday, July 7, 2015

All You May Want to Hear about Crape Myrtles


The biggest question is how to make them bloom. Crape Myrtles kind of follow their own timetable. Here they suddenly start to bloom about mid-June. 'Natchez' is always first with its pretty white blossoms. In north Georgia they're sometimes  about 2 or 3 weeks behind us. Spring marches northward about 10 miles a day. Summer follows a similar pattern. Every year is different.



One day I'll look out and Pink Crape is in full bloom when I had not noticed buds. Watermelon Red color will follow beside it.

There is controversy over pollarding, or cutting the tops back to the trunk which leaves knobs from which long, limber branches grow with large bloom heads. Southern Living calls it Crape Murder. I do not practice it. There are places where a too-large tree can be kept in bounds by pruning, such as one under a power line. Another plan might be to plant a dwarf growing plant or cut it to the ground to keep it a shrub.


Last to bloom here is an old Crape Myrtle called 'Lilacina' which I found growing in a pasture and rescued sprouts before it finally died there.

Lilacina is pink, not lilac, but not as pink as the first one.

Natchez

 

One of the features of Crape Myrtle is exfoliating bark. As the tree grows, the old bark sheds, in shreds. Natchez is cinnamon color under the shedding bark on older trunks.

Lilacina has smooth white trunks under shed bark. 


Lilacina is not yet in full bloom Pink Crape in the back yard is already going into a second wave of bloom. The wispy grass is Muhly Grass which blooms pink in the fall. The lush looking plants are Tithonia, already attracting butterflies with those bright orange blossoms.

The age of a tree will also determine bloom time. A small white Crape to the side has not yet bloomed but is full of buds. The same cultivar as my others, it may get more or less sun. The one that is partially under pines blooms first. It gets evening sun.

Two older posts from previous years:

Five Reasons for Growing Crape Myrtles

Crape Myrtles for Fall Color


7 comments:

  1. Your Crape Mytles are looking beautiful! Love that shedding bark and smooth Trunks!

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  2. My neighbors laugh at me because I have never cut mine back.I want trees,not shrubs.I have a few with blooms in the very top.Blooms are slow this year.

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  3. I dearly love crapemyrtles. In Oklahoma, sometimes they die all the way to the ground, and we start over. Other years, they get to be large trees. They never get as big as in the South, but I love them anyway. Thanks for the info. ~~Dee

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  4. I dearly love crapemyrtles. In Oklahoma, sometimes they die all the way to the ground, and we start over. Other years, they get to be large trees. They never get as big as in the South, but I love them anyway. Thanks for the info. ~~Dee

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  5. I have just two from a friend and so far they are not impressive. They grow very slowly here. I have seen huge ones in Springfield.

    Yours are beautiful and I like the bark almost as well as the blooms.

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  6. I have Natchez planted in my back yard. They have been stingy with blooms until this year. My husband sprinkled cottonseed meal around them in early spring. I don't know if that is what did it but they have some of the prettiest biggest blooms I have ever seen.

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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