Crepe myrtles are a staple piece of many southern gardeners and landscaping professionals. Although it is also known as Lagerstroemia, Crepe myrtle is the common name in the south. These trees are highly resistant to heat and droughts which makes them perfect for the Tennessee summers. Keep reading to learn more about a Memphis landscaping favorite.

About Crepe Myrtles

Crepe myrtles can be dwarf shrubs or small trees, depending on the species. It is native to warm and humid climates, which makes it perfect for Memphis landscapes. They can blossom in a variety of colors. The colors consist of pure whites, reds, pinks, and purples. A healthy plant’s blossoms will cover the tree for months during the hottest part of the summer. Crepe myrtle trees make excellent privacy hedges or decorative borders. Each year, it can sprout 12 into 18in of new growth, where flowers bloom. The flower will only grow on new growth. If a season’s frigid weather stunts the growth of branches, flowers may not bloom. Crepe myrtle shrubs take more time to mature. Once the bush has established its roots, it grows quickly. Despite their quick growth, these shrubs do not grow past 6ft.

Descriptive attributes of crepe myrtles are:

  • The flowers have 6 petals and are 1″-1 1/2″ wide
  • The petals are clawed and 6-parted
  • Stems are slender
  • Bark has hues of brown and grey
  • The bark peels off the tree naturally, revealing a smooth and solid surface underneath
  • Older stems are smooth and exfoliating.
  • Leaves are 1″-2 3/4″ long and 3/4″-1 1/2″ wide. 

Different Types of Crepe Myrtles

The Crepe Myrtle genus and family includes about 45 different species all ranging in size and color. They can be purchased for small spaces with plants that reach a mature height of 3 to 5 feet, to large shade trees reaching heights of 40 feet, and almost any size in between. 

Their blooms appear on new wood, so you should prune them in the winter or early spring. During the growing season, trimming off worn flowers will promote a second bloom. The majority of crepe myrtles are susceptible to mildew. To avoid the fungus, plant the trees or shrubs in full sunlight.

Most popular crepe myrtles in Memphis

The Natchez white crepe myrtle typically grows between 20 to 30 feet in height in southern areas. Its flowers grow in clusters and bloom brownish-colored fruits that stay present through the winter. Be cautious of over-fertilizing. It will reduce the tree’s blossoms. This variety of crepe myrtle is highly resistant to mildew.

The red rocket crepe myrtle is known for requiring little maintenance. It produces bright and bold cherry red blossoms in the spring. During the fall the flowers turn bright orange, the crimson in the winter. Some flowers can grow up to eight inches. The tree itself can grow up to 20 to 30 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide. 

The purple crepe myrtle (AKA Twilight crepe myrtle) is a bit more high maintenance than other species. It is susceptible to mildew, black spot, and aphid. Although, many owners of purple crepe myrtle trees will tell you its beautiful clusters of dark purple flowers are worth it. The foliage is dark reddish-orange when new but changes to dark, glossy green as it matures. Regular inspections of these trees will prevent damage by fungus and other organisms.

Soft pink flowers bloom from the pink crepe myrtle at the beginning of the summer, making it a summertime favorite for backyard landscapes. They make excellent ornamental trees or could be used for privacy. They grow to be 10 to 12 feet in height and 8 to 10 feet wide. Keep this in mind when you plant. They should be planted 4 to 5 feet apart in full sunlight. 

Preferred Soil Type

These trees and shrubs are praised for being low maintenance. They are adaptive in their environment and can withstand adverse soil conditions. As well as survive drought seasons. They thrive when grown in loose and well-drained soil with a pH level of 6.0 – 7.3. 

What Makes Crepe Myrtles a Great Landscaping Plant for Memphis

Although the crepe myrtle has been hybridized to suit a wide variety of climates and temperatures, it is best raised in warm and humid clients as we have in southwest Tennessee. The awe-induced flowers bloom in summer temperatures only. They are highly recommended for their sensual look alongside homes and fences. The combination of the tree’s height, fall colors, flowering clusters, and intriguing peeled bark makes it an ornament in any home garden or formal landscape. 

The Landscaping Professionals of Memphis Tennessee

If you have fallen in love with these beautiful trees and would like to learn more we are here to help! The professionals at Lawn Jox are experienced in all things landscape maintenance including tree and shrub care. Contact us for your quote today!