CRAPE MYRTLE VARIETIES AND DESCRIPTIONS
- Trees- (mature height over 20 feet)
- Biloxi - This cultivar grows to be an upright, vase-shaped tree with a crown that is more open than other cultivars. 'Biloxi' is a hybrid featuring pale pink flowers and outstanding dark-brown bark.
- Natchez - The overall best cultivar, 'Natchez's' white flowers are among the first to bloom and it usually reblooms all summer. Its trunks have beautiful cream- and cinnamon-brown colored bark. This hybrid is so popular that it is fast becoming overused in the landscape. To avoid this, try some of the other cultivars.
- Miami - Another beautiful hybrid similar to Natchez but with dark pink flowers and tan- and chestnut-brown colored bark.
- Muskogee - Light lavender-pinkish flowers develop all summer long on this large, broad-spreading tree. This hybrid is extremely vigorous and fast-growing; be sure to use it in an area that can accommodate its vigor and ultimate size.
- Large Shrubs/Patio Trees - (mature height 10 to 20 feet)
- Osage - Pink flowers form on this large, broad-rounded shrub or patio tree. This hybrid is distinctive in having extremely glossy, dark-green leaves and also is known for reblooming well.
- Sioux - This hybrid cultivar develops into a tight, vase-shaped plant that lends itself well to narrow spaces. Flowers are a beautiful shade of medium-pink.
- Apalachee - Of the three lavender-flowered hybrids from the National Arboretum, 'Apalachee' is preferred for its dense growth, upright habit, and outstanding cinnamon-colored bark. Apalachee's flowers are lightly scented, unusual among crape myrtles. Its seed capsules also persist through the winter and add character to the silhouette of trunk and branches.
- Medium Shrubs - (mature height 5 to 10 feet)
- Acoma - This National Arboretum hybrid has a horizontal habit of growth that is very distinctive. Its small, grey-green leaves and white flowers add to its character.
- Pecus - This hybrid is an early bloomer with medium-pink flowers on a vase-shaped plant.
- Tonto - Bright red flowers are produced on this upright, rounded plant. 'Tonto' has the best red flowers of any of the disease-resistant hybrids.
- Near East - This is one of our oldest Lagerstroemia indica cutivars, first introduced in the late 1800s. The outstanding character of 'Near East's' light peach-pink flowers that are unmatched by other cultivars. Otherwise, Near East has a loose, irregular habit of growth that is rather unattractive.
- Small Shrubs/ Container Plants - (mature height under 5 feet)
- These cultivars are suitable for use as small shrubs in the landscape, but also make excellent container plants. Some of these cultivars even make excellent plants for hanging baskets. Unfortanately, none of these cultivars are hybrids, so they are extremely susceptible to powdery mildew which must be periodically controlled with a fungicide containing benomyl or bayleton. (See site: http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/Texlab/default.asp for further information.)
- Delta Blush - This low, mounding plant is usually covered with pink flowers in late May and early June. Originally bred in Louisiana, this patented cultivar has grown just 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide after seven years.
- New Orleans - Another patented cultivar, 'New Orleans' features rich purple flowers and glossy leaves on a low, spreading plant. In seven years, this plant has grown less than 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. This plant makes an excellent hanging basket because of its prostrate habit and glossy leaves.
- Victor - This upright, oval-shaped shrub produces flowers that are the best red of any crape myrtle. It has grown 3 feet tall and wide.
- Choosing Correctly
- Be sure to choose a cultivar whose ultimate size fits its location in the landscape. Don't make the mistake of only growing tree-type cultivars because you think they grow faster than other types; misplacement of a tree-type crape myrtle will cause you to prune it constantly to keep it from outgrowing its place.
It's clear that few other plants offer as many ornamental qualities as crape myrtle. With all the superior cultivars available today, there is a crape myrtle for just about any landscape use.
- Egolf, Donald R. and Anne 0. Andrick. 1978. The Lagerstroemia Handbook/Checklist, American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, Inc.
- Johnson, Randy and Ruth Dix. 1994, Dwarf crape myrtle classification. Proc. 1993 Southern Nurserymen's Assoc. Research Conf. 38: 374-378.
- Knox, Gary W. 1992. Crape Myrtle In Florida, Fact Sheet ENH-52, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. 6 pp. Revised April,1994.
- Knox, Gary W, Russell F. Mizell III, and Daniel 0. Chellemi. 1993, Susceptibility of crape myrtle cultivars to carpe myrtle aphid and powdery mildew, Proc. 1992 southern Nurserymen's Assoc. Research Conf. 37:340-342.
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