Things To Consider When You Buy Crape Myrtle

If you plan ahead a bit when you buy crape myrtle, you can be successful with one of the prettiest additions to your garden you can make. These shrubs or small trees with charming crinkled flowers come in many varieties, sizes, and colors to fit southern and mid-Atlantic zones and any landscaping need.

The delicate, crinkled texture of the flowers gives these Asian imports their name. Crepe is a fabric used for summer dresses – or the fragile paper streamers used for party decorations – but these flowers actually are long-lasting in the garden. India and Southeast Asia give us the less-hardy varieties, while the ones that can grow farther north originated in china and Korea. The taller, tree-like ones come from Japan.

It’s important to pick varieties that will survive in your zone. The country is divided into planting zones, based on latitude and altitude, which reflect the mean temperatures throughout the year. Crepe myrtles used to be confined to the southern regions of the country, but new varieties from China and Korea and hybridization by growers have broadened the range of these attractive plants.

Myrtles come in many sizes now, as new hybrids enter the marketplace. Dwarf varieties remain under two feet in height, while Japanese myrtles grow to thirty-foot tall trees with brilliant color and a pleasing vase shape. Growers have developed hedge plants as well.

Pruning is another thing that is important if gardeners want to show these shrubs at their best. There are several ways to trim the branches, depending on the result you want to achieve. If a short, thick shrub is your aim, just cut all branches off at the desired height. For the perfect vase shape and mottled trunks found in generations-old gardens of southern plantations, leave only a few strong uprights. By pruning these foundation branches of all lateral shoots and suckers, you get that traditional look.

Once you know your planting zone, you can go online to preview varieties that will thrive in your region. To be really safe, you might see what grows well in one zone farther north, or choose a sheltered spot in your garden for your new addition. Crepe myrtles prefer full sun all day, but can do with a minimum of six hours. A container plant that was raised in your region will settle quickly into its new home.

Check out the wide range of colors, from white through the pinks to the purples and reds. These shrubs look great up against a wall or a house and make stand-out specimens for the center of a circular bed. The flowers come on new growth, so early spring pruning does not affect summer color. This makes it easy for novices to care for these plants, so don’t be intimidated by their beauty.

When you buy crape myrtle plants with care, you’ll be investing in a more beautiful garden for years to come. These shrubs are definitely one of the more rewarding plants available to today’s gardeners.

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