Selecting a Crapemyrtle

Crapemyrtles are part of the summer landscape of North Carolina. You’ll find them on highways, in commercial plantings and neighborhoods, and throughout many residential properties. While Crapemyrtles or Lagerstromia sp. are a popular plant, they are often sized inappropriately for their planted location – leading to another feature of the North Carolina landscape – the aggressive pruning of these trees, known as ‘Crape Murder’. To help avoid this we’re sharing some advice on how to select a Crapemyrtle – if you consider all the factors listed below you are certain to choose the right plant for the right place.

Dormant-Crapemyrtle

(Two dormant trees – one with its natural form and the other as a victim of Crape Murder)

Location and Size
Crapemyrtles are full sun trees providing the best flowering when they receive at least 1/2 day of sun. There are many different cultivars available with mature sizes ranging from 10 feet to 30 feet, and shapes from narrow to broad. So, the first step in selecting a tree is to evaluate the location for full sun and determine what size tree would be appropriate for the space.

Form
Now that you know what size tree would best fit, consider what type of shape would best compliment your property. Looking for a barrier on a property line close to your house? Consider a narrow or vase shaped tree. Have more space or looking to create a shady spot for a bench or other plantings? Consider a broad or arching tree. Another consideration is whether you would like a multi-stemmed tree or a ‘standard’ tree with a single trunk.

Lagerstromia-Natchez
(Lagerstromia ‘Natchez’ one of the largest Crapemyrtles with broad form)

Color
Now that you have selected the size and shape tree that would best fit your property, think about what color flowers, bark, and fall foliage would complement your garden. Lagerstromia ‘Natchez’ (pictured above) is my favorite Crapemyrtle, with cinnamon colored bark, red fall color, and an average of 90 days of white flowers in bloom. For information on different size, shape, and color combinations check out the US National Arboretum introductions.

Have additional questions about selecting a Crapemyrtle for your property? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at (919) 475-1015 or fill out our online contact form. Design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!