Where to plant a crepe myrtle tree
Crepe myrtles make ideal feature trees for home gardens, because they’re compact in size, and respond well to pruning. All crepe myrtles need to be grown in an open sunny position, and young trees should be watered generously through summer. Because of their compact size, they make very good street trees.
Crepe myrtle varieties Australia
In recent years, the Indian Summer range of crepe myrtles has been released, offering a fabulous range of brilliant colours and excellent resistance to powdery mildew disease, which can effect some of the older varieties during humid summer weather.
Each cultivar in the Indian Summer range is named after an Indian tribe, and the trees range is size from a compact 3 metres, up to about 6 metres in height.
The best crepe myrtle varieties to look out for include:
- Lagertroemia 'Zuni' - hardy variety that blooms with pink / purple flowers
- Lagerstroemia 'Sioux' - produces pale pink flowers and is suitable for small gardens
- Lagerstoemia 'Red Hot' - A new variety of crepe myrtle with near black foliage and bright red flowers
Dwarf crepe myrtle varieties Australia
There are also dwarf forms available, which are more shrub-like in habit, and are suitable for growing in large tubs. Great varieties to look out for include:
- Lagerstroemia 'Dwarf red' - Deciduous crepe myrtle tree that produces red flowers in summer. This variety is frost tolerant and will grow up to 2 metres in height.
- Lagerstroemia 'Dwarf pink' - Perfect for creating a hedge or as a border plant, this dwarf crepe myrtle produces a stunning display of pink flowers. It is drought tolerant and will grow up to 2 metres in height.
How to prune crepe myrtle
Crepe myrtles respond well to pruning, which is best done in mid-winter, when trees are bare of leaves. To keep them compact, trim back branches by about 30cm all over.
If you wish, you can cut them back much harder than this – they’ll send out long arching branches from the site of the cut when spring arrives. However, if you’re not into pruning, and you have enough space for them to develop their naturally appealing shape, just leave them alone – they’ll flower well in any case.