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Crape Myrtles Have An Enjoyable Summer!

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Crape Myrtles Have An  Enjoyable Summer!

The heat may have subsided, but drought conditions continue in many areas.  Scores of trees, shrubs, lawns and other plants are experiencing drought and water stress and will need timely watering this fall in order to survive the winter that follows.

Are there any plants that will tolerate and perhaps like hot, dry summers? A search on our Plant Finder page search yielded a total of two hundred eighteen results of deciduous shrubs for Zone 6 that will tolerate some drought.  Why not try a similar search of trees, evergreens, perennials and other plants that will tolerate these conditions?

Included in the results of deciduous shrubs, are a number of crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia), such as Lagerstroemia ‘Tonto’. The one pictured above, is putting on quite a show in the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Flower Borders at the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening.

In addition to tolerating heat and drought, another great attribute of crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia species) is its extended flowering period. Often beginning in early summer it usually extends into late fall. The fruit that follows the flowers in the form of a small capsule remains on the plant throughout the winter for added interest.

Although summertime color has always been provided by this shrub and/or tree in many areas of the south, crape myrtles are doing well in the Saint Louis area, and show their best in the type of hot summer that we just experienced.

The most common species of crape myrtle in the United States is Lagerstroemia indica, which is native to China and Korea. In the 1950’s, Lagerstroemia fauriei, native to Japan, was introduced into the United States. This species exhibited more disease resistance, colorful bark, and hardiness than some L. indica. Many of the crape myrtles that we now have are hybrids of L. indica and L. fauriei developed by the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

There’s still time to view other crape myrtles growing in the demonstration gardens here at the Center for Home Gardening and in other areas of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

This website contains addition information on many Lagerstroemia.  By typing “Lagerstroemia” into the Plant Finder genus search box, you’ll find detailed information on thirty four different varieties and cultivars of crape myrtle.

If you have a sunny area in your yard, consider a crape myrtle for extended summer time color and a plant that likes it hot!

For additional information and/or answers to your gardening questions, you can talk to us in person.  Just call the Horticulture Answer Service (Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. @ 314-577-5143) or visit the “doctors” at the Plant Doctor Desk (Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) in the Center for Home Gardening.

Brighten Your Next Summer’s Landscape with a Crape Myrtle!

Posted in: Summer | Tags: crape myrtle , shrubs , heat | Comments (0) | View Count: (914)
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