In previous blog posts, I have mentioned crape myrtles. Since then I have found additional information about them. There are numerous new varieties now available. This includes the Black Diamond series, which have almost black leaves and only grows to 10′ – 12′ tall. The Delta series, has curved dark burgundy leaves, and grows 8′ – 12′ tall. And the Majic series – shrubbier varieties which grow 6′ – 10′ and approximately the same width.
Besides their attractive flowers, which come in a variety of colors, they have increased disease resistance and are more drought tolerant, making them ideal plants to use where space is limited. They also don’t need to be butchered by pruning, unlike Muskogee, Natchez, Tuscarora, or Miami; which grow 20′ or more in height.
Cultural requirements – Crape myrtles are relatively easy to grow. They thrive on our Florida summer heat, which encourages them to flower. Except for standing water and limited salt tolerance, they tolerate most soil types, and require limited pruning. You only need to remove any broken/dead branches, any branches that want to grow towards the center of plants, and any spent flowers or seed pods. Some of the older varieties are susceptible to powdery mildew, (which can be treated with Funginex or a similar fungicide), and aphids which feed on the flowers and leaves, (which can be controlled with insecticidal soap products).
The most important consideration homeowners must make is what variety do I want and how tall do I want the plant to get. Proper selection can eliminate future headaches.
Note: Removing flowers immediately after flowering can encourage formation of new flowers.
For additional information on crape myrtles, click here.