Crepe myrtle | Lagerstroemia indica

This deciduous plant is a member of the Lythraceae family and is native to China and Korea where it grows as a shrub or tree up to 10 m (33 ft) high. The single flowers have wavy petals like crepe paper and are borne in long clusters until autumn. The colours are pink, white or purple depending on the variety. The plant needs plenty of sun and warmth to ensure flowering and in cooler regions it flowers late or not at all. Because the young shoots break easily, crepe myrtle should be planted in a sheltered position where it is protected from the wind. It is important to water regularly to prevent the buds from dropping . During the growing season, it should be given weekly applications of fertilizer.

In regions where winters are mild, older trees can stay outdoors during the winter. However, it is best to move the plants to light place indoors with a temperature of about 15° C (59° F). In spring, flowering shoots of the previous year can be cut back. It can be propagated from softwood cuttings taken in spring while pruning. Watch out for mildew, which can cause the buds and flowers to drop.

03. September 2014 by Dave Pinkney
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