My beloved Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)…. either way of spelling is ok. Crape is the Anglicized version of the French crêpe. But when looking at the word Crape I can’t help but see it without the ‘e’, therefore I prefer Crepe
Crepe Myrtles are wonderful trees for the South. They are available in different sizes, dwarf, medium and large, and in many colors, white, water melon, and all shades of pink.
Certain varieties are better suited for Florida. Pick one with a Native American Indian name like Natchez, Chickasaw, or Seminole, just to name a few.
Crepe Myrtles are attractive all year round. All through summer the trees are dripping with blooms…
… and just look at that bark, this is pure art…
… and in Fall the leaves change color to orange and red.
Three more things I like about them:
- Crepe Myrtles are deciduous, so living in Florida where the seasons aren’t that strong pronounced, I see my Myrtles leafless in Winter.
- I collect the fallen leaves with a leaf vacuum (reverse setting on the leaf blower) and use those shredded leaves as mulch on the flower beds.
- My tropical plants appreciate them as well, giving shade during the hot summer months and allowing the mild winter sun through to the soil.
- Best planting time is in Fall and Winter when they are dormant.
- After they are established Crepe Myrtle are quite drought tolerant.
- Prune them in Winter, to shape and cut off crossing branches to avoid injury to the tree.
- Don’t do Crepe Murder! Sawing the tree branches down to stumps seems to be a practice just in Florida. The tree loses its beautiful natural shape and you certainly won’t see the cinnamon colored bark since the branches are gone