Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
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Lagerstroemia

Crepe Myrtles, Crape Myrtles

Family: Lythraceae


These flowering trees are an old favourite in Queensland gardens. Rather than a tropical flamboyance, they have a more delicate look reminiscent of the cooler climate trees. Their leaves may even colour up a little in autumn and fall in winter.

These old-fashioned favourites have enjoyed renewed interest in recent years with the development of many new varieties in a range of sizes.

Breeding work has produced a plethora of varieties ranging from groundcovers to full-sized trees in assorted colours. Be guided by the label or do your research first to select a suitable variety for the intended position.

Even though they lose leaves in winter, the dwarf types may nevertheless be an option if a tough flowering shrub is required. Look out for 'Little Chief' (Pink), 'Nana Dark Pink', 'Nana White', 'Nana Mauve'.

Larger crepe myrtles losing their leaves can be an advantage - it lets more light into the garden and creates a traditional, European look. Some of the varieties available in Australia include 'Natchez' (white), Tonto' (dark pink/red), 'Soiux' (Bright Pink), 'Zuni' (Dark Lavender), 'Yuma' (Lavender), Lipan (Lavender).

Crepe myrtles have a reputation for suckering off damaged roots. If underplanting, consider permanent shrubs/groundcovers that won't require regular digging in the future.

In spite of the common name, they aren't members of the plant family Mrytaceae (which includes eucalypts and lilypillies). Crepe myrtles belong to the family Lythraceae.



Where to buy Crepe Myrtles

You should be able to find a selection in most garden centres. Tree nurseries might have a limited selection of advanced specimens, although these can be difficult to access by home gardeners. Talk to your local garden centre or landscaper about ordering one for you.



Crepe Myrtles in the Landscape


Click for larger images.

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Mature crepe myrtles

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Roots have strong tendancy to sucker, even when the entire above-ground part of the tree has been removed

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Cutting severely every year can keep large old varieties shrub-sized
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Mistletoe on crepe myrtle is easy to spot in the deciduous phase in winter


More Online Information

The following links are for general information. Some species or cultivars referrred to in links may be unavailable in Australia

General

Crape Myrtles Texas A&M University, USA
Crape myrtles rank high for summer color Office of Agricultural Communications Mississippi State University, USA
Lagerstroemia indica University of Florida (PDF)
Crape Myrtle Tree - Beautiful in Summer and Winter Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona
Crape Myrtle Conference: a Blooming Boon for Texas Texas A&M University System. Report on the conference and the city of McKinney's plans to become a world showcase for this genus

Care

The Crepe Murder Mystery Some dos and don't of crepe myrtle pruning at the Higher Ground website (Texas USA)
When to Prune Flowering Shrubs Texas A&M University
Improper pruning damages crape myrtles By Daniel E. Mullin, Leon County Extension, University of Florida, USA
Crape Myrtles University of North Carolina Wilmingtom (Pruning tips)
Crape Myrtle Culture The University of Georgia
Crape Myrtles Re-bloom Texas A&M University
Why Did My Crepe Myrtle Change Color? The Grumpy Gardener, Alabama
Crapemyrtle Pruning University of Florida
Lagerstroemia indica Landscape Plant Propagation Information, University of Florida

Varieties

Crapemyrtle Cultivars University of Arkansas, USA
Lagerstroemia x 'Acoma' University of Florida (PDF)
Lagerstroemia x 'Biloxi' University of Florida (PDF)
Lagerstroemia x 'Cherokee' University of Florida (PDF)
Lagerstroemia x 'Muskogee' University of Florida (PDF)
Lagerstroemia x 'Natchez' University of Florida (PDF)
Lagerstroemia x 'Tuscarora' University of Florida (PDF)


Lagerstroemia speciosa

Queen Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia speciosa) At "Grow Me Instead" (an Australian website informing gardeners about safer alternatives to invasive ornamentals)
Lagerstroemia speciosa University of Florida (PDF)
The Pride of India Lagerstroemia speciosa Gifting Trees, India
Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen's Myrtle) James Cook University, Qld
Put some regal splashes of color in your Miami-Dade landscape University of Florida (PDF) notes on Lagerstroemia speciosa

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Lagerstroemia_speciosa


Other Species

Lagerstroemia fauriei University of Florida (PDF)
Lagerstroemia fauriei 'Fantasy' in: Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter, Volume 9, Number 1. JC Raulston Arboretum, NC State University
Lagerstroemia archeriana The Taxonomy Research & Information Network

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