Lifestyle

Crepe myrtles a blossoming beauty

A crepe myrtle, native to eastern Asia, can be grown in almost any garden in Australia.
A crepe myrtle, native to eastern Asia, can be grown in almost any garden in Australia. Contributed

ONE of the most beautiful summer flowering trees would have to be the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica). They are looking lovely now, and we will admire the masses of large, showy blossoms borne atop rich green foliage well into autumn.

And the crepe myrtle continues to contribute to the garden even when the flowering stage is finished, as the foliage develops rich autumn colours before falling. Then, during winter, the decorative bark and, on well-established trees, a lovely gnarly trunk, will become the feature.

Crepe myrtles are native to eastern Asia, and grow well in most climates. They are frost tolerant but also quite happy in the heat, and are drought tolerant once established. The common name is derived from the masses of delicate crinkly blossoms which resemble crepe paper. Borne at the tips of the branches, they can be in shades of white to pinks, mauves, purples and reds. The flowers last for two or three months and, if you remove spent flowers immediately, more will form.

There are many forms of crepe myrtle, from low-growing ground covers to shrubs and trees to six metres or more. The Indian Summer range has been specially bred to resist powdery mildew. Bred from Lagerstroemia indica and a less common species, Lagerstroemia fauriei, they come in a variety of colours and growth habits, ranging in size from 3m to 6m. Each one is named after an American Indian tribe. Acoma has white flowers and grows to about 3m, whereas Natchez, the other white in the series, grows to 6m. Lipan, Tonto, Sioux and Yuma are shades of pink, growing 3-4m tall. Biloxi is a taller pink variety, growing to about 7m. Tuscarora is rose red, and grows to 6m. There is also a mauve form, Zuni, which grows to 3m.

Crepe myrtles require a sunny position. If growing in too much shade they will become weak and spindly, and prone to borer attack. They also appreciate good air flow in summer to reduce the incidence of powdery mildew. Remove lower growth to create a strong and attractive trunk, but avoid damaging the roots or lower trunk as this may cause suckering. Of course, mulch well to prevent weed growth, conserve water and prevent suckering.

You can remove spent flowers to encourage more to form during the flowering season. Then in late summer or autumn, when the flowers have finished, give the plant a light prune all over to keep it tidy. You can prune to shape during winter. Some gardeners like to prune them quite severely. But this heavy pruning can interfere with the naturally elegant vase shape that crepe myrtles tend to develop. So if you don't want the tree to grow very tall, plant a smaller variety rather than relying on hard pruning to control size.

Got a gardening question? Email maree@edenatbyron.com.au

Topics:  blooms crepe myrtle flowers garden general-seniors-news plant


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Airlie send-off for Rufus tour

ON THEIR WAY: Rufus will wrap up their massive regional tour with a show at Magnums Hotel this month.

Rufus will play at Magnums next week

Taking on a personal touch

PERSONAL: Emily Krause is taking her tour to Magnums Airlie Beach in March.

Emily Dawn will hit up Magnums next month

No better place to plan for knot tying

GET PLANNING: The Whitsunday Wedding and Honeymoon Expo is fast approaching.

Check out the wedding and honeymoon expo next weekend

Local Partners

French tourist avoids jail for selling drugs

A French national avoided jail but was fined for supplying drugs in an Airlie Beach night club last year.

How Stay at Home Mum blogger Jody Allen struck it big

Jody Allen and Walt Collins will co-host the Seven Network's Stay at Home Mum television series from April.

Jody Allen's star continues to rise at incredible speed

Comedy with extra cheese

Paul Fenech is taking his TV series Fat Pizza on the road for a series of live shows.

Fat Pizza and Housos are coming to town

One of the top five car collections in the world

A 1950 Alvis TB14 Roadster is a highlight in the museum.

Gosford home to largest, privately-owned classic car collection.

MKR turns spiteful in suddendeath elimination

A MERE two points separated two teams from My Kitchen Rules, in a spiteful sudden-death cook-off.

Jilted Married At First Sight groom rejected again

Is Married at First Sight groom's second chance over already?

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Global superstar to rock Mackay in 2017

A major concert is set to rock Mackay this year.

Mackay, Cairns to host world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John

Robert Irwin introduces Jimmy Fallon to wild guests

Robert Irwin introduces Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a cuddly sloth.

ROBERT Irwin continues Steve's legacy.

MOVIE REVIEW: Trespass Against Us a 'tender' crime film

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in a scene from the movie Trespass Against Us.

Tough British film about criminal clan proves touching

Crocodile, hippo fears as I'm A Celeb filming hit by flooding

Flooding hits the set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Fears crocodiles and hippos could infiltrate I'm A Celeb camp

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!