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Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

Posted by rockman50 6b SEMASS (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 10, 11 at 11:39

I planted this Crape Myrtle back in 2008. The variety is "Muskogee". It has grown like crazy the past few years and is finally flowering this summer! This variety has a soft lavender color. I have seen conflicting hardiness info on this variety. Some sources claim 0 to +5. Field tests in Chester County PA indicate 0 to -5. These ranges indicate that this crape survives right at the zone 6/7 transition. The lowest temperature experienced by mine so far has been +1, with no die back. It is 15 feet tall.
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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 10, 11 at 11:52

Congratulations! 15 feet tall with those flowers is impressive!

Claire


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RE RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 10, 11 at 11:54

and could you post a pic of the whole plant?

Claire


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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

Here is a pic of the entire plant, from a few weeks ago when it just started to flower. When I planted it, I thought it would be relatively small. But I did some research (after I planted it of course) and I guess this variety can grow into a 30 ft tree! (if it lives long term). It is, however, providing nice shade for the patio. The location is full southern exposure, so the house protects the plant from cold N winds in winter and the location bakes in full sun in summer. I might need to prune it, to encourage a more bushy habit, with more flowers? But I am not sure how to go about it. So I will just let it go for now and see how it matures.
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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 10, 11 at 16:42

That's going to be gorgeous when it's covered with flowers like they are in the south (I just googled for images). It looks quite happy there, but at 30 feet the top might be pruned by the north winter winds, depending on the height of your house.

Claire


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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

That's very, very nice, Rockman!

My attitude towards Crapes is to enjoy then when they do well but not rely on them for anything. I had a big old white one that must have been 20 feet tall, until that brutal winter a few years back ... The following spring, it never leafed out until July 4th. We were having a party later that weekend, and I was approaching it with a bow saw - that must have gotten its attention at last, because I found a few tiny little leaves on some of the branches.

It's now a multi-stemmed shrub, maybe about 5 feet tall at this point - I'd like it to get tall again, so I remove a few branches, right at the base, each winter. Nearby, a younger, deep red one is approaching the size of yours - I'll get some photos soon.


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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

I don't think it will ever get as tall as the house. I suspect a bad winter will make sure of that! But I will enjoy it as long as it lives. Digginthedirt: Do you know what variety your white crape is? Based on your description, I suspect it might be "Natchez" which is hardy just down to 0. I have read that Crapes do become a bit hardier as they mature and their trunks thicken. If you are interested, here is a chart ranked by crape myrtle hardiness based on field tests conducted at a nursery just NW of Philly, where winters are actually quite similar to SE coastal New England. If mine dies in a brutal winter, I might try one of the varieties at the top of the list. Any crape hardy to -8 or -12 should do very well, long term, down here along the SE coast.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crape Myrtle Hardiness Chart


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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

Thanks for the list, Rockman. I may have to pick out a few more of these beauties; a summer like this one really makes me appreciate those late flowers, and the crapes seem to be enjoying all this heat.

I think my white one is Natchez, but the tag is long gone. I picked it up about 20 years ago, before I thought about keeping tags or writing down varieties of things I planted. It was pretty mature when it died back, maybe that's why it eventually leafed out.

Design wise, the only problem I have with Crapes is siting them so that a plant that's large tree one year but becomes a small shrub the next year doesn't leave a noticeable gap in the garden. My crapes (and a vitex, and a couple of marginally hardy willow oaks) are now surrounded by hydrangeas, and I think the next severe winter will bring a definite change to my garden, but one I can live with for a couple of years as the crapes regain some height.


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RE: Crape Myrtle Flowers for the First Time!

Thanks for posting! I'm a bit envious having fallen hard for crape myrtles last summer in Alabama. The flowers are great, the bark is lovely and the glossy foliage looks good all the time. I'm glad to hear that there are areas of New England where they do well and hope yours doesn't encounter any winters too harsh for it.


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