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Crape Myrtle, Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Baton Rouge, LA(Zone 8b)

Crape Myrtle, Crepe Myrtle
Lagerstroemia indica

When in bloom, nothing else can compete.

Thumbnail by aking1a
-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

Hi. Your crepe myrtle is beautiful! How old is it? I have several that are 3-4 years old. I have pruned them only lightly. I want them to grow as big as they can.

I have a "Sarah's Choice" which has white blossoms and grows to tree-size. She has not grown much since I planted her, but I've decided that she's still getting used to her new home. After all, if you're going to be a tree, you've got to have a good root base.

Please tell me what you've done to get it to be so beautiful.

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

So beautiful, we just struggle here in Western Oregon to get crepe myrtles to go.

Baton Rouge, LA(Zone 8b)

I only prune crepe myrtle when it is really getting in the way or sagging. Always prune a branch back to the branch collar - don't wack off the ends. About three years ago, I fertilized with 8-8-8 slow release - use 1 inch auger and drilled 8 inches. Made holes about 2 ft apart starting 2 ft from the trunk, made rays about 2 feet apart - made holes out to the drip line. Under planted with plants that do not require digging.

Plant is about 35 years old.

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

No wonder... I guess I just can't expect my 3-year old plants to look like 35-year old ones... I hope I'm around to see it in 35 years -- ha ha.

It's beautiful...

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Hi aking1a, I'm in Austin,TX which is also zone 8b...my husband and I bought 2 very small (2') tall Crepe Myrtles. They are growing a lot since we planted them in March (they are almost 4' now). My question is that there are a lot of leafy branches coming off from the bottom and throughout the heighth of the trunk. Should we at this point trim those off so that the lovely bark is exposed? Or wait until next season so that they can be more established in their new home? I wondered also about what to use on aphids? We have terrible aphids in our yard...they are all over my bougainvillea, honey suckle fuschia and other things. So I know it is a matter of time before the vermin get on my CM. I'd rather use something natural, but am not against using chemicals if it is necessary. We have some sevindust...will that work? Thanks...I know your picture is almost a year old...but I just recently got on the website! Michelle

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

What variety is this one? I love this color purple.

Baton Rouge, LA(Zone 8b)

These trees are about 35 years old --- And I do not know what variety it is.

This is one of the very old varieties of crepe myrtle - I doubt you can find one of these in nurseries anymore. The newer varieties are not as susceptable to the diseases and are a lot less messy. Some people use all kinds of chemicals to control aphids - but, I think they are fighting a losing battle - mine just take care of themselves.

Baton Rouge, LA(Zone 8b)

I just went and looked up some info - there is a purple variety called Catawba - I do not know if this is that one or not.

Some nurseries plant crepe myrtles just to attract the aphids away from their nursery stock - If there is a large infestation of aphids in your garden, you may want to spray everything with a good systemic like orthene to get them under control then there are some methods to keep them in check - some just wash them off using soapy water or a strong stream of water, others use ultrafine oil spray -

As for pruning - you should always have a good reason to prune - in crepe myrtle particularly, you can ruin a tree by whacking off the limbs to control size. Never prune a crepe myrtle unless you know how to prune to maintain the natural shape --- that is, remove a limb or branch all the way back to where it joins the branch, limb, or trunk below it. Cut at the branch collar. If you whack off a crepe myrtle limb anywhere else, you will encourage new growth from the point of the cut - usually clusters of smaller branches - and gives you a bottle brush appearance.

Suckers - yes - remove the suckers coming up from around the base of the stem / trunk - also remove seedlings.

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Yours is just beautiful. I have never had a problem with aphids. I wonder why. I get them on my rose buds in the spring. I didn't know that was a problem with crape myrtles.

I also prune all of mine severly. I have to or they would take over completely. I planted the wrong size for the space. They put on such a great show even though pruned. I get more and much bigger flowers than others I have seen even though I do not have a tree but a huge bush. I planted a catawba last year. It seems to me it was not as dark. When I have visited my mother in the late summer in NJ, there is a dark purple one by her house. I always admire it. I put in 6 more last year. Home Depot has huge 15 gallon trees they sell in late summer for just $39.00 here. For the last 2 years I have not been able to resist. They are so big they are hard to get home. They have all leafed out, so I can't wait to see what they look like in bloom this year. I will be so happy if one is a dark one like yours. These I may not prune if I get good flower production.

Baton Rouge, LA(Zone 8b)

You can prune a crepe myrtle to control size but you have to do it correctly or you will end up with something aking to a bottle brush. Remove any branch all the way back to it's origin, where it is connected by the collar to the preceeding branch. This is the way you would prune most any shrub or tree to maintain the natural shape. If you simply cut off the end of a branch, you are actually stimulating new growth and the single branch will be replaced by 2-3 new ones that grow rapidly.

Cape Coral, FL

This Crepe Myrtle is just beautiful! I have never seen a purple bloom before, does Lagerstroemia indica, designate a purple blooming plant?

Humble, TX(Zone 9a)

You can buy lady bugs and turn them loose in your garden to take care of the aphids if you are adverse to chemicals. You can also use just a forceful spray of water from the garden hose and it will wash them off. Aphids do not climb up onto the plants. They are natural hitchhikers and are reported to arrive at their destination on the back of ants and other pests. Good luck with them..

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Kanakuk, no indica is just the species name. I wish we had the cultivar name of this purple one. I keep looking for one like it.

If I have really bad aphids on a tree, I use Palmolive in water and a hose end sprayer. Kills them dead.

Weslaco, TX(Zone 9b)

Several years ago I bought what I thought was a CM at a nursery. It has since grown to 10 ft. This past spring it was covered with beautiful purple blooms. After the blooms come seedpods that are brown and have red seeds in them. After looking at several pics on this thread I don't think I have a CM. Does anyone know what I do have? It seems to be disease free. Never had to spray for anything! It has no fragrance. I even have a volunteer, from a bird, no doubt. Any ideas?

Northern California, CA(Zone 9b)

Can you post some pictures of it?

Weslaco, TX(Zone 9b)

Hi Kell; I'm sorry,but I can't send a picture. It looks just like a CM. Do they have the seedpods like mine? Are they fragrant? Mine isn't! Thanks for replying!

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