What do Jacaranda & Crape Myrtles look like in winter???

marciemJune 7, 2010

I love Jacaranda trees (my favorite this time of year) and also Crape Myrtles. I'm planning on planting one of each but now I'm wondering what they'll look like in the winter? Do they lose all their leaves? I live in Orange County (zone 9) so winters are mild. The Jacaranda is going in my front yard and a main focal point, just don't want it to look like a "Charlie Brown" tree for months. Thanks!

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I get much colder than you but around here both are bare but only maybe 4 months. Some Crape Myrtles have nice bark so get one that does.
I would like a Jacaranda also, but they can be messy. Are you going to park cars near it...you might want to think about that.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 2:45PM
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I don't think saying "messy" covers it--Jacarandas spit sap which will ruin a car. They are beautiful whether blooming or not, but only if "off in the distance", because they have a 20 foot spread when mature. If it's going to be anywhere near cars in your front yard, don't do it!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 4:08PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Jacaranda will look like a huge Charlie Brown tree for months. They also get very big, and can overwhelm a front yard. Do you have a really big yard? If so, you can get away with planting a jacaranda in the middle of a lawn away from the house and walkways. They look wonderful for a week or two when they bloom, when the blossoms fall and cover the grass in a big circle.

Crape Myrtles look less Charlie Brownish in the winter because they are more easily pruned into lovely shapes that look good even when they are bare. Crape Myrtles are also small enough for a suburban front yard, unlike jacarandas.

Consider a weeping bottlebrush- they don't make near the mess and they are evergreen. There's a really pretty pink bottlebrush called "Cane's Hybrid" that I have wanted for some time.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 5:46PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said "Jacarandas spit sap "

Not so.

Instead, it's the aphids which infest the jacaranda which excrete honeydew, the sticky stuff that gets all over everything below the tree's canopy

But I must admit -- it's really messy

    Bookmark   June 7, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Thank you for the comments. The Jacaranda will be far from any cars or cement so not a problem. In the town where I live (Fullerton) there are thousands of long established Jacarandas that are used as street trees...I have wondered about the cars parked underneath too but guess the locals don't mind?? I actually think the purple petals look pretty on the grass so to me, it won't be messy. I think it must be the most loved tree in this city, they're everywhere and bloom from April into the middle of summer as I recall. I'm glad I'm going to have one Crape Myrtle too. We have bottle brush in our back yard and that too is nice but wanted something different in our front yard. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 11:03AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Crape myrtles amaze me because in winter you would swear they are completely dead. The wood looks dry, greyish brown, dead dead dead. Yet in Spring they wake up, green up, and you find they've fooled you again, they're alive and well. Always a delightful surprise.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Crepe myrtles are messy as well, but not with sticky stuff. They drop their flowers, then later their bark and leaves. Not the best for a patio, better on a lawn. But we've had one on our patio for decades, and it's a month of tracking purple flowers into the house. Not intolerable, but a bit messy for a spell.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 11:31PM
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I love the Jacarandas in Fullerton. I went to college there and I loved them planted in the lawns at Cal State Fullerton. The whole town in bloom with them is a sight never to be forgotten.

Mature Crapes are beautiful in winter because their branching pattern, round seed heads and bark are so very pretty -as long as you don't butcher 'em. My favourite variety is Dyamite. The red blooms are arresting.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 2:40AM
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This group seemed to know about Jacaranda trees; have a question. Have a couple year old tree in the middle of back lawn, not a bad location. I would prefer a more shade producing type, but an unusual wind took out the biggest center framing branch so it looks pretty odd. Kind of a tulip shape. When it is done blooming I was wondering if it could be trimmed up to a shape to allow it to grow to its true size. I am in Corona, just in-land from Fullerton.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I lived in Ca for 60 years, but have been in North Carolina for seven (just hopped in here for old times sake). Crape myrtle seems to be the state tree here. They all have beautiful winter bark here but it freezes. I suppose that might make a difference. I was not even aware of them in Ca.

I just wanted to add to dis_ about butchering them. Apparrently, many people including landscapers, have gotten into the habit of choping them off at five or six feet high and letting the sprouts form the flowering branches. They believe tht this produces a larger flower show. However, it is the considered opinion of our state agricultural agents and modern landscapers that this is untrue, unwise and just plain ugly. It is often called Crape Murder.

In any case, the basic approach is to allow several trunks (usually a small odd number) to establish, and then remove the lower shoots to expose the trunks.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 7:54AM
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I have 5 crepe myrtles, and yes they are bare in winter. But it's not a Charlie Brown look, it's a winter look. I have no problem with it.

That said, one of the crepes is over a much-used patio. While there isn't a sap problem, it loses all its leaves, all its flowers and even bark which makes it a fairly litter-y tree. We track purple flowers in the house for a month, rake up leaves and piles of flowers. When the wind blows, I've seen flowers come down like a purple snowstorm. Not a big problem, but something you should know. They are stunning when they bloom.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:34AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Hi IEKaren,
I don't know the answer to your question, but you might try posing it as a new post over on the Tree Forum. They are very knowledgeable over there. Make sure to start a new post so people pay attention to it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:35AM
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My 2 cents... If Jacaranda is off far away from cars and cemented areas, they are quite lovely. I personally cannot stand the stench of the purple blooms, you either enjoy it or get disgusted by it. I do love the 'fern' looking leaves. A mess as mentioned above by others on cars etc.

Crepe Myrtles can be gorgeous in the summer. They look almost dead to me here in So.Cal in the winter, sometimes I even question them in the spring and all of a sudden they come back to life. They are somewhat messy, in summer their bark peels and old leaves will fall, but the biggest complaint I have is the little drip sap they drop. Only during the summer for me, it stains my cars with tiny drops everytime.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 4:08AM
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