Crape Myrtle Lagerstroemia indica is very popular in the Southern United States because of its beautiful, colorful Summertime flowers in shades of white, pink, orchid, purple or red. First discovered growing in India, crape myrtles are native to China. Their long blooming season, July through September, will add color and beauty to your yard. Large varieties can reach ! a height of 20 feet and make good street trees, flowering specimens or screens. Dwarf varieties grow to five to eight feet tall and are used for specimen shrubs hedges, foundation plantings or' containers. Miniature or "weeping" crape myrtles grow to two to three feet tall and look great in planter boxes and containers or as an informal landscape border.
When And Where To Plant
Crape Myrtles are easy to plant and grow in full sun and well drained soil. They require moderate moisture, but always water deeply. The best time to plant dormant, balled and burlapped crape Startles is December through March, after the leaves have fallen. Container grown crape myrtles can be planted year round.
Dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Mix an equal amount of Perma Gro Mulch with the soil removed from the hole. After carefully removing the container, place the base of the tree in the center of the hole, being sure the tree stands straight. Fill the hole with the 50/50 soil/mulch mixture, packing it firmly around the root ball, and building a water basin. Water in thoroughly with a solution of Perma Gro Root Stimulator to prevent transplant shock and promote a healthy, vigorous root system.
Repeat feeding with Root Stimulator at two week intervals for three to four applications. Secure newly planted trees with a strong stake to Protect from wind damage. For larger trees, use guy wires staked in the ground. To help retain moisture, put a 13 to 4 inch top layer of Perma Gro ! Mulch around the base of the plant.
Prune in February to promote new growth and profuse Summer Blooming. Remove old seed pods and old stalks thinner than a pencil. Don't "top" your crape myrtles or you'll see unsightly, unnatural large limbs with long, floppy shoots sprouting in all directions. Cutting back stalks that are thicker than one inch can also cause this. If you want to turn a shrub form into a tree, prune out all but three to five of the main trunks and remove the lateral branches below 4 feet. Prune any sprouts growing from the base of the tree as they develop. Prune carefully using sharp tools and apply Green Light Pruning Paint to any cuts larger than 1/2 inch. Ask our Certified Nursery Professionals for additional pruning advice.
Aphids commonly bother crape myrtles. These soft bodied insects suck juices from the tender Spring growth and leave a sticky residue on the leaves. We recommend spraying with either Green Light Malathion or Diazinon. Powdery mildew (appears as a flour like dust on new growth) can be controlled with Green Light Benomyl Systemic Fungicide. Bring in a sample of the affected plant area to our Certified Nursery Professionals for diagnosis and advice.
High phosphorous fertilizer will encourage a crape myrtle to bloom; we recommend Perma Gro Rose and Flower Plant Food (9 12 4). Apply fertilizer monthly Spring through Summer. If iron deficiencies appear (yellowing leaves) use Green Light On and Soil Acidifier according to label directions.