Featured Plant of the Month: Crepe Myrtle

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Featured Plant of the Month: Crepe Myrtle

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Now that it’s summer, you can expect to see the crepe myrtle in full bloom. These flowering trees or shrubs are popular because they produce beautiful, vibrant colors of showy flowers. Though a year-round gardening highlight, they typically flourish in the summer months in the South. It is a genus of around 50 species and a member of the Lythraceae family. Find these plants taking over yards and public areas for a pleasing delight the eye. So, how do you get these attractive trees to appear around your yard? Luckily, they’re simple to plant and require very little maintenance. They typically tolerate heat, humidity, drought, and do well in most soils. Best of all, they re-sprout after frozen to the ground in northern climates.

Quick Facts:

  • All crepe myrtles bloom on new wood
  • Should be pruned in winter or cooler, early spring time
  • Color options: purple, white, pink, red, lavender
  • They last throughout the winter – the leaves fall off but the roots keep growing
Steps to Planting Crepe Myrtles:
  • Double check that you choose the correct color and mature size of the plant you’d like before you start. The crepe myrtle can be grown in 3 different ways: tree, shrub, and dwarf.
  • Choose the best time: The best time to plant crepe myrtles is in the cool season.
  • Choose the right location: This plant needs sunlight. Find a sunny area that will receive maximum sun exposure throughout the day. The more light, the more colorful flowers that will sprout.
  • Figure out the soil: Crepe myrtles require well-drained soil. The pH level of the soil should be 5.5 to 7.5.
  • Plant! Dig a hole in your desired spot about 2-3 times as wide as the root-ball. Place the potted plant in the hole you dug to make sure it’s large enough. When you’re ready, remove the plant from the container by carefully sliding it out.
  • Fill in around the plant roots with excavated soil to ensure you eliminate air pockets. Press down gently with your foot to firm the soil.
  • Mulch: Make sure to add a layer of mulch, usually about 2-3 inches deep over the top of the planted tree. Mulch is particularly important in the winter months as a means of protection. It will keep away weeds and grass as well as retain moisture during the warmer months.
  • Water:  Water your plant liberally anywhere from 1-3 times a week. A freshly planted crepe myrtle needs more water during dryer periods, but once it reaches maturity, it will be naturally drought-resistant.
Sounds easy enough right? It certainly is. Crepe myrtles are an awesome way to beautify your yards. They’re perfect for a new gardener or seasoned vet. Either way, make sure you do your research and follow these easy steps to planting these wonderful trees.

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