Beautiful Flowering Crepe Myrtle Trees
Crepe myrtle trees are popular with home gardeners for their clusters of beautiful flowers and unique peeling bark. Native to China and Korea, crepe myrtle was introduced to America in 1747. During the 18th century, it became popular in the South for its vivid flowers and captivating colored bark. In the family Lagerstroemia, crepe myrtle trees brighten yards with little maintenance, watering, or fertilizing. Planting crepe myrtle is similar to planting other shrubs and trees. Crepe myrtle trees should be planted in a sunny location. Soil need not be rich or amended; crepe myrtle trees are adaptable to most soils except those that are soggy. Sunlight and well-draining soil afford a wealth of summer blooms and help keep pests away. Newly planted crepe myrtles should be well-watered until roots are established and are then mostly drought tolerant. Fertilizer is usually not necessary, unless blooms appear limited. Full bloom may not occur until the second year after planting. A soil test can indicate the need for fertilization.
Crepe myrtle prefers a soil pH of 5.0 to 6.5. When planting crepe myrtle in limited space, choose a smaller cultivar so that you won’t be tempted to over prune. Crepe myrtle trees are available in dwarf varieties, such as the bright purple blooming Centennial and the deep red Victor. Or choose the semi-dwarf Caddo that blooms in bright pink. Smaller varieties grow well in containers and some hybrids grow in colder zones.
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