Crapemyrtles have proven through the years to be an excellent plant for Oklahoma. Showy summer flowers, attractive bark, and (in many cases) brilliant fall color make them year-round landscape performers. They grow rather quickly, bloom from June through October, and are tough, durable performers. While there are a handful of insect pests that feed on Crapemyrtle, the plant itself is very resilient and generally blooms unfazed by this annoyance. They will grow in full sun or part shade, but require a minimum of 6 hours of sun in order to produce flowers. Overall they are quite simple to grow and very rewarding with color, shade and architecture for the landscape. TLC Crapemyrtle Food applied every 2-4 weeks will increase flower production.
Crapemyrtles come in a wide selection of varieties. Not only do they differ in bloom and leaf color, but also in mature size. Dwarf varieties only grow to a height of 4 feet or less. Semi-Dwarf varieties grow 4 to 8 feet tall. Large or Tree Crapemyrtle reaches a height of 10 to 20 feet. By choosing a suitably-sized variety for your location, you will eliminate the need for heavy pruning.
Violet Filli – With lovely violet flowers, this dwarf variety grows 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. Excellent in mass plantings.
Pocomoke – Dark green foliage topped with deep rose-pink. Average size is 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
Victor – Dwarf variety matures at 2 to 4 feet tall and wide. Panicles of crinkly, dark red blossoms and the green foliage turns red-orange in autumn.
Enduring Summer – This series is available in Red, Pink, Lavender, and White. They grow 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. Glossy green leaves emerge tinged with red and turn to dark green.
Princess – This series is available in several colors: Holly Ann-cherry red, Kylie-magenta, and Zoey-red & pink. They only grow 4 feet tall and wide. The leaves that emerge a copper-red, turn deep green in summer and a purple-red in fall.
Double Feature – New growth of small wine-red leaves are followed by an abundance of ruby-red blooms. This variety produces no seed capsules. Mature size is only 6 to 8 feet in height and width.
Large or Tree Varieties
Catawba – Panicles of dark purple flowers and has the added benefit of beautiful bittersweet-orange fall foliage. Grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Dynamite – Gorgeous large cherry-red clusters of flowers appear from summer to frost. Leathery leaves turn orange in the fall. Matures at 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Ebony or Black Diamond – Flawless black foliage emerges in spring, followed by vibrant blooms of red, pink, purple, or white. Grows 10 to 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Excellent as an accent plant.
Pink Velour – Bright pink flowers in summer contrast with the burgundy foliage. Leaves are thick and leathery, turning orange in autumn. Matures at 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide
Red Rocket – Spikes of cherry-red flowers cover this upright, multi-stemmed shrub all summer. New leaves are crimson but quickly turn to dark green. Grows to 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Muskogee – Glossy green foliage creates the perfect canvas for the lavender-pink flowers. Brownish-gray exfoliating bark with red-orange fall color. Grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Natchez – Features white summer blooms against glossy dark green leaves that turn orange and red in fall. Its cinnamon-brown exfoliating bark is outstanding. This vigorous grower reaches 20 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide.
Siren Red – Oxblood red flowers are the darkest red flowers yet. The new growth is wine, then quickly changing to dark green. Reaches 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Tuscarora – Dark coral pink blooms and red-tinged immature leaves turn dark green, then orange-red in fall. The mottled and light brown bark is spectacular. Grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Pruning Crapemyrtle & Controlling Scale
More and more Crapemyrtles are being pruned improperly. Although the common practice of “topping” crapemyrtles does not kill the tree, it can result in trees declining in health after years of improper pruning. Crapemyrtles should be pruned in late March through early April. When pruning a Crapemyrtle, plants should be thinned and not topped. Remove branches that rub against each other. Prune out branches that cross each other or are in competition with each other. Remove branches that do not contribute to the overall growth direction or shape that you desire for the tree. Also, eliminate suckers at the base of the tree.
For the past several years, Crapemyrtles across the region have had to deal with Crapemyrtle bark scale. This insect is often found on branches and twigs, often resulting in black sooty mold accumulations. Crapemyrtle bark scale is not deadly to most Crapemyrtles, but can affect the plants’ quality and blooms. The best treatment is Bio-Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed II*, which provides 12-month long lasting systemic protection against damaging scale insects plus feeds in a single application.
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