Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle)
Lagerstroemia, commonly known as Crepe Myrtle (or Crape Myrtle), is a versatile and visually striking deciduous tree or shrub, celebrated for its vivid and lengthy blooming period, ornamental bark, and variety of sizes and forms. This plant is a favorite in many landscapes for its multi-seasonal interest and ease of care.
Habit: Crepe Myrtle exhibits a diverse range of habits, from small, bush-like shrubs to tall, vase-shaped trees. They typically feature multiple trunks with smooth, peeling bark, creating an appealing, mottled appearance. Their foliage is equally attractive, with leaves that turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange, or red in the fall.
Hardiness: Crepe Myrtle shrubs and trees are hardy in USDA zones 6-10, though this can vary slightly by cultivar. They are notably heat-tolerant and can withstand the high temperatures of southern summers.
Flowers and Bloom Time: Crepe Myrtle is renowned for its spectacular blooms that appear from late spring or early summer into fall. The flowers, ranging in color from white and pink to deep red and purple, cluster in panicles at the branch tips. This long blooming period, combined with their striking colors, makes them a standout in any garden.
Uses: These plants are versatile in landscape design. Smaller varieties are ideal for foundation plantings and borders, while larger trees can be used as street trees or focal points in gardens. They also work well in group plantings and are a popular choice for urban and residential settings due to their pollution tolerance.