Some of you may know that my original tree in my Woodland Garden was struck down in late 2004 by Hurricane Isabel. It was one of the existing plants at this house when we purchased it in eleven years ago. It was probably a 3-5 year old specimen at the time and had reached a reasonable size when the wind snapped it off at the roots. This tree sprouted from the roots that were left in the ground a year later. They are normally grown as multi-stemmed trunks which makes them susceptible to wind damage when young.
Another nice feature is the lovely range of colors they provide at this time of the year. Mine as you can see is starting to turn from yellow to a deep orange shade. The colors can vary from tree to tree as seen in the pictures below in my neighborhood.
My neighbor’s Crape Myrtle has become a deep rust color that is beautiful. She has a variety of Crape Myrtles in her front garden and the color right now varies on each one. In addition it varies from other trees in the neighborhood as seen in the next shot.
My other neighbor’s trees are a bright yellow with the tops turning a flaming shade of orange. They almost look like their on fire. Another added attraction to this ornamental tree is the interesting trunks. Sometimes these large branches are twisted and sometimes they are straight as an arrow.
But my favorite part of all is the peeling bark. What’s left underneath is a smooth texture that is mottled in color. The Crape Myrtle truly is a tree for all seasons. Here’s some growing information:
- Need at least 6 hours of sun a day to get peak blooming
- Plant in moderate to well drained soils
- Fertilize once in early spring for a mature tree
- Fertilize a second time 2 mos later for a young tree
- Hardy zones 6-10 (but will probably die back to the ground in zone 6)