The crape myrtles are among the most satisfactory of plants for hot-summer regions; showy summer flowers, good-looking bark, and (in many cases) brilliant fall color make them attractive all year round. Long, cool autumns yield the best leaf display; the first hard frost ends the show.Lagerstroemia fauriei
From Japan. Grows to 20–30 ft. tall and as wide, with upright habit and outward-arching branches. Leaves are light green, 4 in. long and 2 in. wide, turning yellow in fall. Smooth gray bark flakes away to reveal shiny cinnamon bark beneath. White flowers are carried in 4-in. clusters. Highly mildew resistant; the parent of many resistant hybrids.Lagerstroemia hybrids
Introductions of the U.S. National Arboretum, these hybrids between L. indica and L. fauriei have been selected for hardiness and mildew resistance. These 8–25-ft. plants are mostly as wide as high, but some are much narrower. White, pink, lavender, or red flowers appear in spring. Fall color runs mostly in the red-purple-orange range, though yellow is possible. Grow as shrubs or train into small trees.
‘Muskogee’: Grows to 25 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide. Lavender flowers, red fall color.
‘Natchez’: Reaches 25 ft. tall and 12 ft. wide. White flowers, orange-red autumn color.
‘Pecos’: Grows to 8 ft. tall and 6 ft. wide. Pink flowers, maroon fall color.
‘Zuni’: Grows to 9 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Lavender flowers, orange-red fall color.
Native to China. Grows to 25 ft. tall and wide. Dark green leaves are 1–2 1/2 in. long and somewhat narrower, often tinged red on opening and frequently turning brilliant orange or red in the fall. Crinkly petaled, crepe-like, 1–1 1/2-in. flowers in dense clusters range from white through pink to red and purple. Trained as a tree, develops an attractive trunk and branch structure. Smooth gray or light brown bark peels off to reveal smooth, pinkish inner bark. Winter trunk and branches look polished.
‘Catawba’: Roundish, dense growth to 6–10 ft. tall and equally as wide (can be trained as a 15-ft. tree). Dark purple flowers, orange-red fall color.
‘Dynamite’: Grows to 20 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide. Ruffled red flowers, and orange-red fall foliage.
Petite series: Grows to 5 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide, with names that describe their flower color: ‘Petite Embers’, ‘Petite Orchid’, ‘Petite Pinkie’, ‘Petite Plum’, ‘Petite Red Imp’, ‘Petite Snow’. All have yellow fall foliage.
‘Seminole’: Grows to 6–12 ft. tall and as wide. Bright pink flowers, red fall color.
‘White Chocolate’: Grows to 8–10 ft. tall and wide. Foliage emerges burgundy in spring, then matures to chocolate-tinged green. Pure white flowers. Bright orange-yellow fall color.
These annual and perennial plants are grown as herbal remedies and for culinary use.
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