Crepe Myrtle is a flowering plant from Lythraceae family. This plant belongs to the genus Lagerstroemia. This is a genus of about 50 species of deciduous trees and shrubs. It is native to the Indian subcontinent, Northern Australia and various regions of Southeast Asia. Crepe Myrtle produces clusters of vibrant-colored flowers, which is why, gardening enthusiasts are often keen on planting this shrub in their flower garden or patio. There are many varieties that produce flowers in shades of pink, red, purple, lavender, magenta and white. The flowers have a crepe-like or crinkled texture. Common Crape Myrtle or Lagerstroemia indica is one of the most popular varieties of this flowering plant. Some of the varieties can grow up to 15 to 20 feet in height, while the shrubs may grow up to 5 to 7 feet in height. One can also keep dwarf varieties that can be grown in containers. If you are planning to grow this flowering plant in your garden or patio, you can go through Crepe Myrtle planting instructions that are given below.
Growing a Crepe Myrtle
Before you plant this decorative plant in your garden, make sure that you find out about the best time for planting. You should also know how to select the ideal planting site. Here are instructions that you need to follow while planting this flowering shrub.
Planting Site: The main objective of planting any flowering plant is to get profuse flowering during the bloom season. For that, you need to pick up the right spot. Crepe Myrtle must be planted at an area which receives full sun. Planting it in a dark spot, that doesn't receive light, would lower the chances of profuse flowering. You could either propagate the plant through seeds, rooted cuttings or by planting an established plant. Buying an established plant, is the best choice for those who want to quickly see flowers blossom. The best time to plant would at least a month prior to the first frost. Ideally, the pH of the soil should be around 6.5, but you could also plant them in a soil with pH lying anywhere between 5.5-7.5. The soil should also be well-drained. You may also use a slow-release fertilizer during the first growing season.
Planting Crepe Myrtle: Make sure that the dimensions of the hole where this plant would be planted, is big enough to accommodate the root system. Hold the plant by its root ball, and place it into the hole. Fill in the hole with soil and water it. While planting this flowering plant, you must also ensure that you maintain distance from other trees, shrubs or structures. A distance of about ten to twelve feet must be maintained between them. It must also be planted at least four to five feet from driveways.
Watering: Care must be taken to protect it from pests. Though these are hardy plants that are drought-resistant, one needs to water them properly during the first growing season. Younger trees must be watered more often. These must be watered four to five times in a week. When it comes to watering, moderation is the key to proper growth. Neither should you drench them in a pool of water, nor should the soil be dry. Water the plant when the soil appears to be dry, but don't go on a watering spree.
Mulching and Pruning: You should also apply a layer of organic mulch or compost so that the soil is able to retain moisture. You could use leaves, pine bark or pine straw for mulching. Mulching must especially be done during winter or late fall, which is the time when the plant is dormant. This will also provide protection from weeds. Since this plant is susceptible to powdery mildew, make sure that you plant a mildew-resistant variety. Prune this flowering plant during the early spring or the late winter. You must remove the spent flowers, dead, broken or diseased branches, just before the new growth starts. Prune the plant so as to give it a nice shape.
Whether you grow a Crepe Myrtle in a container, or plant it in your garden, these decorative plants will surely enhance the beauty of the garden. Do follow the aforementioned instructions. If you fulfill the ideal conditions required for the growth of this plant, you would surely get a chance to see profuse flowering during the bloom season.