Tell Me about These Crape Myrtles, Please!

aly1917March 20, 2005

Morning all,

Well, I finally decided to buy a small(ish) tree for the front yard. Primary concerns are disease resistance, height (20' at maturity), flower color (white), fall leaf color (prefer red), and interesting bark. I'm leaning towards the following crape myrtles: Acoma, Kiowa, Lipan, and Natchez. Do any of you have experience with these varieties? Any comments? Suggestions for the best place to buy that offers the biggest bang (tree ;) for the buck?



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Acoma is a shrubby white. Natchez is a tall white and quite hardy as well. I Bought a liner from Forestfarm and let it grow.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 8:42PM
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If I ever get a Lagerstroemia it will be L. fauriei. White flowers, yellow fall leaves (sorry), but incredible bark!!!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 8:54PM
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Thanks guys, off to do more reading!



    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 8:58AM
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mdaughn(zone 7)

All three are National Arboretum introductions and when I was last there, there were nice mature specimans to see. I think Natchez was even in the parking lot. Lipan has nice exfoilating bark (gray green) with light lavendar flowers, Natchez has a great cinnamon colored exfoilating bark with white flowers, it gets very large. I don't personally know Acoma.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 12:23PM
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Hi........I posed pretty much the same question on the Virginia forum...I still haven't made up my mind about what to plant! You might find it helpful to check out that discussion thread from about two months ago, in early January. Folks weighed in with various recommendations. Townhouse came up more than once, but it turns out to be much larger in life than some of the early descriptions I'd read. I'm looking for something in the 15' max range.

Here's a link to some fact sheets from the National Arboretum about the crape myrtle varieties that it has introduced over the years, including the ones you're thinking about. There are also a couple of useful comparison databases at and (TAES Crape Myrtle Database).

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: National Arboretum fact sheets

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 11:33AM
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Goldylocks(z7 MDsuburbDC)

I thought crepe myrtle was listed as an invasive plant in Maryland and a threat to native vegetation. I find this very confusing if the National Arborteum is encouraging their development here.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 8:06PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

Are you dead set on a crape myrtle? There's an article in Horticulture this month about Corylopsis - some would be considered a small tree. Look gorgeous to me.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 12:37PM
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I haven't read that, Goldy. Also, I don't think that the Arboretum would be developing species that were invasive. Maybe you're thinking of something else?

Well, I *was* dead set on crape myrtles, Annbert, but I'm pretty suggestible. LOL! I'll take a look at the Corylypsis (sp).

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 6:23PM
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Crape Myrtles are in the Lythrum (loosestrife) plant family, which includes Lythrum salicarium, the purple loosestrife, which is a small perennial flower that is VERY invasive in this area (in fact, I believe that it is now illegal to either grow or sell purple loosestrife in Maryland). but most of the popular Crape Myrtle hybrids are sterile hybrids that don't reseed, so I wouldn't worry about them being invasive.

none of the crape myrtles commonly available in this area offer both white flowers AND red fall color. Natchez is the best and most commonly available white, but the fall color is yellow-orange at best. most crape myrtles with red fall color have lavender, purple, or red flowers, most white flowered crapes have yellowish fall color.

if you're dead-set on a combination of white flowers and red fall color on a small tree, i'd recommend:

- Cornus florida Cherokee Princess (flowering dogwood)
- Amelanchier laevis (serviceberry)
- Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)
- Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland' (flowering pear)
- Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw viburnum)

All those will make lovely small trees with white flowers and reddish fall color. The dogwood, serviceberry and blackhaw viburnum will also have interesting bark. Also, although it is not as disease-resistant as you'd like, Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) will also give you both white flowers and red fall color, with the addition of lovely red berries for most of the fall and winter.

Also, if you have time and patience, I've seen large Doublefile viburnums (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum) pruned to a few main "trunks" and then limbed up into tree forms. Treated in this way they make gorgeous small trees about the size and shape of a medium crape myrtle, with a cloud of white flowers in May and the most delicious deep red-purple fall color you ever saw.

hope that helps!

- Victor :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 11:32AM
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I like any of the white ones - the other ones have blooms that remind me of Pepto Bismol - lol!!!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 12:20PM
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I just bought a sourwood. It's a fabulous tree with cascading, lily-of-the-vally style white flowers in summer when most trees have bloomed. The fall color is better than any crepe myrtle I have or have seen. It retains an upright shape, not too wide, but it will eventually grow over 20' I think.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 7:14AM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

I want an Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance' for its white flowers and red fall color.

That said, beware that a CM Natchez can become up to 40' tall. I know. I have a beautiful one. The bark is rather boring, though.

CMs are my favorites. Although they don't necessarily seed, some do put up runners. Plan to buy in the late summer (Homestead's Crape Myrtle Festival is in July) so you can actually see the blossoms.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 7:36AM
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More reading to do!! Thanks again everyone. When I finally make up my mind, purchase and plant the tree, I post pictures for you all.



    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 8:11AM
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chasinlex(zone 6/7)

I would suggest a Dynamite crape myrtle. An excellent red variety with a nice upright tree-shape growth habit. Cold-hardy to zone 6. Mine is growning wonderfully in Lex, KY.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 11:22AM
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Rantpuppy, if you want to talk about invasive, how about that callery pear you're suggesting. That is a nasty weed if there ever was one and it's on the do not plant list.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 9:41AM
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By the way callery pear like bradford was introduced by the us arboretum and they regret doing so.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 9:43AM
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After some research, I decided to purchase a Lagerstroemia Indica x Fauriei x 'Apalachee' for its medium height (12'-15'); insect and disease resistance; light lavender flowers and striking cinnamon brown exfoliating bark...great plan but I cannot find a tree farm or nursery anywhere who sells this cultivar...have called nurserymen associations within MD, VA, NC with similar results...anyone know where I can purchase a specimen 3-5 trunk Apalachee?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 3:26PM
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