Good plants for growing around crape myrtles?

SneaselKat(7)March 14, 2012

I have a neglected garden bed beside some crape myrtles. I was wondering what would be friendly to plant beside these trees.

If you could provide any types on plants that would do well, that would be great, but specifics form people who have planted near crape myrtles would be good as well.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Just remember that you can't do anything to chop up the roots too much, and you can't add inches of soil over the roots. That is, if you want to keep the Crapes healthy. If you can comply to those caveats, you can plant anything you like with them.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 11:16PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

In the past I have done creeping juniper with perennial (Miss Huff) lantana and daffodil bulbs interplanted to come up through the juniper. What you can also do is bury planting pots filled with simple mulch or soil conditioner
among the juniper saving a spot for easy tucking in of annuals that are taller than the juniper but not as tall as Miss Huff.
My experience with crape myrtle is it is deeply rooted and even grinding down the stumps to 5-6" below ground only deters it from returning for a couple years.
Guess that's why the highway department uses it in the medians. Cars run them over,knock them down and they return a year or so later.
I wouldn't chop out their lateral roots much, just work around them and, as rhizo said, don't smother the roots from their share of soil moisture. An inch or so should be OK.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 12:26PM
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Are you in the Southeast? If so, Indian Hawthorne (_Raphaelepsis indica_) is commonly used as an evergreen, spring-flowering "skirt" around crape myrtles planted in the adverse conditions of public parking lots, or non-public parking lots, as the case may be. It's readily available at the garden centers of the Big Box Retailers, and elsewhere. It's inexpensive, and, thus, grossly overplanted. It's low maintenance and produces clusters of pink or white flowers, followed by dark-blue fruit in the fall and winter. There are low-growing cultivars and tall, tree-like cultivars. I think I would use the pill-box-hat sized cultivars for the setting you have described. (P. S. Prig that I am, I'm not at all sure I've spelled the first part of the plant's Latin name correctly; however, at ten minutes before midnight, I'm mightily disinclined to verify the spelling. Please feel free to correct my spelling. For some reason, I'm pretty sure the Latin name is not quite like that of the famous Italian artist Raphael. But what the heck, in the words of the old cigarette ad, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. Do you want good grammar, or good taste.")

A caveat: I would wait till next fall to plant this shrub so as not to have to do so much watering to help it survive the summer.

You will probably find an excellent, illustrated description of this plant on Floridata or the Websites of the Extension Offices of such Southern cow colleges as Clemson University, fondly called Moo U, the University of Georgia, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida, etc.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 12:12AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I don't usually correct people on misspellings of Latin nomenclature, but since you asked........

It's Rapheolepis, Jay. Many people misspell and mispronounce it with the extra 's'. It is actually pronounced....Rafe e OH le piss. I suspect that you have been saying...Rafe e oh LEP sis. Right? ;-) Common mistake.

Indian Hawthorn is a good suggestion. That should be Hawthorn and not Hawthorne, by the way. I think that there is only one HawthornE, and he was an early 19th century author, Nathanial.

Dottie's suggestions are also good. I'm a fan of the much used Parsoni Juniper even though it is so over used in some locations. It can take brutal conditions, that's for sure.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Thanks for the suggestions! So, I can basically plant anything as long as it doesn't choke the roots of the crapes?
That sounds good.
I really like the Lantana and Hawthorn ideas.
I'm personally more of an herb and berry person, but I'll do a little more research to see what my best options would be. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Any herbs that would work? The spot is partial shade, by the way, if that helps. I was thinking mint, lavender, or chive, but I read that mint doesnt like competition with tree roots somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:50PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Sneaselkat..if there are deer traversing and browse feeding in your neighborhood, hawthorn is at risk and the bite marks to the leaves aren't very attractive. Just a reminder in case you have deer.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 4:53PM
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I planted Asiatic Lollipop Lilies (bulbs) under my crape myrtles and they have done well. Currently, the crape myrtles are just beginning to leaf out and the Lilies are beginning to bloom.

Other plants in this bed are daylilies, balloon flowers, sago palm, azaleas, etc.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:25PM
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We put in a couple of new crapes last fall and under planted with purple coneflowers. I wanted something casual that I could see from a distance. We also have low growing Indian Hawthorne elsewhere and I think it is a great choice for almost any is the Mary Poppins of my garden, practically perfect in every way :)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 9:03AM
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