Celebrating Crepe Myrtles

Right now, I’m having a mini love affair with crepe myrtles.

It started a couple of months ago when we had some landscaping done, and the workers accidentally broke off the emerging shoot from a newly planted crepe myrtle on one side of our house.

No big deal, they assured us. It’ll grow right back.

Seriously?

I wasn’t taking any chances. Frantically, I fertilized and watered it, checking daily to see whether it would produce another shoot. At length, I saw a tiny speck of green, which grew and multiplied into what’s now an almost-foot-high plant!

There are lots of varieties of crepe myrtle. Some are hardier for cooler climates; some are shrub-height, some are trees. When they bloom, they do so in a variety of colors, including pale pink, watermelon pink, lilac, coral, and white. Crepe myrtles love lots of sunshine and summer heat; they do best in Zones 7-9, which encompasses the southern region of the U.S. from about Cairo, IL, south to the Gulf of Mexico.

While I’m farther north than that, the store where we bought this plant assured us it would do just fine. I hope so because I can hardly wait to see its predicted watermelon pink blossoms!

On a recent trip to South Mississippi, I enjoyed a profusion of crepe myrtles along the highway medians, in people’s yards, beside office buildings. Oddly, the farther south we went, the fewer the explosion of flowers (probably something to do with the coastal region’s wetter weather conditions).

Anyway, I captured a few photos of some crepe myrtles for those who (like my blogging friend Wendy over at Herding Cats in Hammond River) aren’t familiar with this gorgeous plant.

Enjoy!

White crepe myrtle

Lilac crepe myrtles

Pink crepe myrtle

Crepe myrtle bark

More crepe myrtles in lilac

Watermelon pink crepe myrtle

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12 thoughts on “Celebrating Crepe Myrtles

  1. They’re beautiful Debbie! Thanks for the horticulture lesson too. Isn’t it true that the plants grow faster when you cut them back?. A good friend of mine was livid with her husband when he accidently mowed down the flower bushes she had labored all spring to plant and to her delight, they came back fuller and more robust than ever. Lucky for her husband!

    • I think that’s true in many cases, Kathy. People, too, need pruning once in a while! But there’s something called crepe “murder” about cutting them back too far that makes them ugly and ruins the beautiful look of the bark.

  2. Oh how pretty, Deb. I have always loved CMs. They grow real well here in hot and sunny southern Calif. I might put one on my lawn…I have an orange tree but it just sits there. I told it last year if it didn’t give me any oranges this year it would go to a new home. We’re at that point now! Have a great week.

    • We had a miniature peach tree, but it didn’t produce either. It had baby peaches all over, but they never ripened. We finally opted to chop it down. I hope your orange tree was listening when you threatened it with a new home!

  3. Love the vibrant colors! Very pretty! My yard does not get enough sunshine and our winter are to harsh for Crepe Myrtles but I remember my parents planted it in the yard of the house I grew up in and I still remember the beautiful blooms.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m fearing even southern Illinois might be too far north for our crepe myrtle to bloom, but I refuse to give up hope — and seeing all these gorgeous trees during our vacation made me that much more convinced I had to try! Glad you enjoyed them, too!

  4. It’s possible we have a few here, but I don’t think I’ve seen any (I’m almost certain it’s too hot and dry for anything so pretty ;))

    I hope your crepe myrtle survives and produces the gorgeous flowers like what you’ve shown in the pictures.

    • They really are pretty, Janna, especially when they’re in full bloom! Mine isn’t anywhere near as tall as some of these specimens, but with a little encouragement — and keeping careless lawn guys away from it — there’s hope!

    • Thanks, Suzi, so do I! Maybe I need to print out one of these photos and tuck it in the ground beside my “baby” one — for inspiration, you know!

  5. These are lovely.

    There’s a nursery near where I live that gives out Myrtle Money when you make a purchase throughout the year. Myrtle Money can be redeemed during the annual crepe myrtle festival. It seems like a fun tradition, but I don’t have anywhere to plant a crepe myrtle, so I just enjoy the beauty. Thanks for posting these!

    • Thanks for visiting, Hipster! Myrtle Money, huh? Sounds like a wonderful thing. Nobody would do that here because Crepe Myrtles generally aren’t grown this far north. Mine must be hybrids (or, as my mom is quick to point out, maybe I’ve got a green thumb!)

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