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Plant of the Month

Crape Myrtle or Lagerstroemia indica are deciduous or evergreen shrubs and trees occurring in deciduous woodland, often near rivers in warm-temperate and tropical regions from Asia to Australia.  Of the family Lythraceae they are cultivated for their conical, brightly colored panicles of flowers, with characteristic crinkled petals and for their often peeling bark.

Crepe Myrtle --White and Pink flowers inset

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Crape Myrtle

Botanical Name:  Lagerstroemia indica

Family:  Lythraceae

Plant Type:  Deciduous or evergreen shrub or tree

Origin: Asia to Australia

Zones: 6-10

Height:  12-25'

Rate of Growth: Medium

Salt Tolerance: None

Soil Requirements:  Moderately fertile, well-drained soil

Water Requirements: Moderate drought tolerance, water sparingly when not actively growing otherwise water freely

Nutritional Requirements: Medium, balanced liquid fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during active growth

Light Requirements: Full sun

Form:  Shrub or tree

Leaves:  Dark green to 4" long, oblong

Flowers: Brightly colored panicles of crinkled crape-like flowers in white, pink, red or purple.

Fruits: None of interest

Pests or diseases:  Dieback, powdery mildew, aphids, scale insects, mealybugs and white flies.

Uses:  Hedge, screen, group plantings or specimen plant

Bad Habits: None

Cost:  $$ -- reasonable

Propagation:   Seed sown at 50-55 F in spring, softwood cuttings in late spring or semi-ripe cuttings with bottom heat in summer.

Sources:   A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, The Subtropical Garden

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Last updated 06/03/08