Watermelon Red Crape Myrtle – In My Top Four Tuskegee Crape Myrtle - In My Top Three

 Crape Myrtle

Natchez White Crape Myrtle

The Natchez White is an excellent choice for a single trunk crape known as a “standard.”  Read more about the Natchez White here.

Natchez White Crape Myrtle

Natchez White Crape Myrtle

The slight leaning of the single trunk Natchez White Crape Myrtle cries out of the old adage:  “The time to stake a tree is BEFORE it needs it.”  If you see your tree taking a tilt – stake it immediately and even then it may be too late!
Single trunk crape myrtles are pruned and trained from a more natural multi-trunk growth pattern.   The wonderful thing about crapes is they can die back from winter growth and rebound.  However, a crape will never rebound as a single trunk, specimen.  You will have to pick the strongest shoot and train it back into a single trunk standard.
Natchez White Crape Myrtle
Natchez Crape Myrtle – Natchez is the top-performing crape myrtle in the southeastern United States and was introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum in 1978. White flowers and exfoliating bark are characteristic of this variety that reaches heights of 30 feet at maturity. Bloom period is about 110 days starting in early June. It has very large blooms or pannicles, which is one reason it is so popular.

If your white crape myrtle does not have the lovely exfoliating cinnamon bark, it is not a Natchez, but more likely a Town House, Kiowa or Fantasy.

Natchez_White_Crape_Myrtle_Lee_Ann_Torrans

As the summer turns to autumn the bark will turn darker brown in a Natchez crape myrtle.  If your white crape does not have cinnamon bark you may have a Kiowa.

Natchez White Crape Myrtle with pendulous branching and large white pannicles. Reaches almost 25 feet in Texas.

Fantasy White Crape Myrtle

Fantasy white crape myrtles are the huge white crapes.  They never bloom as prolifically as Natchez but they are incredibly tall and stately.
Fantasy White below:

Natchez White Crape Myrtle over 30 Feet Tall

Fantasy White Crape Myrtle over 25 Feet

 Fantasy White Crape Myrtle below
Fantasy White Crape Myrtle can reach forty or more feet.

Fantasy White Crape Myrtle. The largest white crape. More upright blooms than the Kiowa which follows the arching dropping pattern of the Natchez, but is taller than Natchez.

Fantasy White Crape Myrtle over 25 Feet

Kiowa White Crape Myrtle

A Kiowa white crape myrtle is not as large as the Fantasy but is a good choice if you want a white crape myrtle larger than a Natchez.  Its blooms are more prolific than Fantasy though not as plush in its pannicles as a Natchez.

Kiowa white crape myrtle is larger than an Arapaho reaching 30 feet or more in Texas.

Kiowa white crape myrtle is larger than an Arapaho reaching 30 feet or more in Texas.  You can see the arching braches and the pendulous blooms which is not present in the Fantasy white crape.

Read more about white crape myrtles here …

Pink Crape Myrtles

There are so many varieties.  Here is how I remember the pink crape myrtles.
If its pendulous its Osage.  (15 – 20 ft)

Upright Sioux all the rage. (12 – 15ft)

Bubblegum Pink is Miami. (20 – 25 ft)

Choctaw 15 feet for me. (15 – 20 ft)

Seminole 20 feet compact and globose.

Bashan’s Party Pink leaves me morose.  Note:  Bashan’s Party Pink has just been named a Texas Superstar by Texas A&M.

Sioux - Powhaten - Tuskegee

Sioux – Hardy Lavender – Arapaho pruned into trees.

Wichita Pink Crape Myrtle

Wichita Pink Crape Myrtle | Good Rebloomer | Reaches 25 Feet

Pink Crape Myrtles

Osage is a pendulous crape with strong pink color that never gets quite as tall as Fantasy.  This is an excellent pink crape, that whatever your growing conditions, will come in about three feet smaller than Fantasy.   In Texas this means about 25 to 27 feet tall.

Pink Large Choctaw Crape Myrtle will reach 27 feet

Pink Large Potomac Crape Myrtle above reaches 30 feet with cinnamon brown bark.  Tall rounded tree.  This is a brilliant pink crape myrtle, not as bright in its pink color as the Choctaw.  This image appears a little more purple.  This is truly a deep pink crape that becomes a beautiful tree, as you can see.

Choctaw Hedge Crape Myrtles

Choctaw Hedge Crape Myrtles (15 to 18 feet) Bubblegum Pink Color.  This is a bright, bright bubble gum pink color.

What is so fundamentally obvious is that someone bought four crape myrtles, took a shovel, dug four holes, maybe threw in some fertilizer, made sure the crapes got water in some of our super hot summers – and voila.  I cannot think of a better return on your investment than a crape, with the exception of an elm or live oak.

Biloxi:  Pale Pink Vase-like Shape Reaching 25 Feet

Biloxi Crape Myrtle 25 Feet Pale Pink Vaselike Shape

Biloxi Crape Myrtle 25 Feet Pale Pink Vase-like Shape

Potomac is a clear pink crape myrtle - vase like shape - reaching 15 - 20 feet tall.

Splash of Pink is a light pink crape with little bits of white myrtle – reaching 15 – 20 feet tall.  One of the cold hardiest crapes.

The image is not the best but you can see the lovely vase shape, the fluffy pannicles and the color of the Biloxi Crape Myrtle.  Just behind this crape, the dark pink to the left is Miami Crape Myrtle.

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle – Tuscarora was introduced in 1981 and is noted for its coral pink flowers. It is less susceptible than most varieties to powdery mildew and leaf spot. Flowering begins in late June or early July and continues for 70-80 days. The trunk has mottled, light-brown bark that exfoliates increasingly as the tree ages. It easily reaches heights of 25 feet in the landscape and has performed well across Texas.  With flower panicle sizes reaching twelve inches long and eight inches wide – this is easily the most impressive bloomer of all crapes.

Tuscarora, upright, large pannicles and neon orange in color.

Read more about Tuscarora Crape Myrtles here …
Pink Crape Myrtle
Tuskegee Crape above.  This is the broadest of all crapes and as you can see the perfect choice for this corner spot.

I believe this is the upright Dallas Red Crape Myrtle. Not quite sure. It does not have the drooping branching of the Arapaho. This could also be one of the Velour series of crapes which have huge colored pannicles in a variet of hues.

I believe this is the upright Dallas Red Crape Myrtle. Not quite sure. It does not have the drooping branching of the Arapaho. This could also be one of the Velour series of crapes which have huge colored pannicles in a variet of hues.

Bashans Party Pink Crape Myrtle

Bashans Party Pink has just been selected as a Texas A&M Superstar plant!
 Bashan’s Party Pink Crape Myrtle – has light-pinkish/lavender flowers. Blooming period is excellent, beginning in mid-June and lasting 110-120 days. It has good tolerance to powdery mildew and leaf spot. Exfoliating bark is beautiful and pronounced as the season extends.

Watermelon Red Crape Myrtle

 

Watermelon Red is one of the most coveted of crape myrtles for its extensive panicles, profuse blooms and shape.  It is one of my favorites for its color, dense panicles, bark, shape and bloom period.  Goes great with Knock Out Roses. This is a natural pairing.  Seminole reaches 25 feet tall.
Dallas Red Crape Myrtle – dark pink flowers (watermelon) and its height reaches in excess of 25 feet.  It has a lovely watermelon color and resistance to powdery mildew and Cercospora leaf spot.

Tuskegee Cape Myrtle - 15 to 18 feet as wide as it is tall

Dallas Red Myrtle – 15 to 20 feet

Twilight Purple Crape Myrtle

Twilight is the large purple crape that is most coveted.  These purple crapes reach 40 feet tall and more in Texas.

Twilight Large Purple Crape Myrtle

Twilight purple crape myrtle reaches over 40 feet tall.

 Hardy Lavender Crape Myrtle

Catawba_Crape_Myrtle_Lee_Ann_Torrans_Dallas_Gardening

The Hardy Lavender above works well with a single trunk but its blooming time is limited to 75 days.  It’s arching canopy provides a traditional shape, while the panicles are not as large as the Tuscarora, the blooms are profuse.  Like all purple crapes this will bloom later in the season than most.  A bit after the Tuskegee.  I would always stake a single trunk crape for the first three or four years.  I would not plant this crape.  The bloom time is the shortest, the pannicles are small but the bark and color are lovely.
 Read more about purple crape myrtles here …

Sioux Crape Myrtle

The Sioux Crape Myrtle reaches 12 to 15 feet in height and eight to ten feet in width. The Sioux is a Fauriei Hybrid crape myrtle that produces an abundance of large, bright pink flower clusters for up to 120 days during summer. It’s foliage is the darkest green of any crape myrtle and turning to a beautiful color of purple in the autumn.  The bark is tan in color and the twigs have a reddish color.  Sioux blooms before Natchez white and more in time with Townhouse.
 
The Sioux crape myrtle is the one about which I hear the MOST complaints.  The panicles are large, the blooms are profuse and this is a mid-season bloomer.  It is the height that surprises people.  They thought all crape myrtles would reach at least ten feet.  When their Sioux stops growing at six to eight feet, homeowners can be disappointed.

 

Crape Myrtle – Which One?

What Size?

Miniature Crape Myrtles begin at two feet.  Dwarf Crape Myrtles begin at six feet, while other crape myrtles reach 25 to 30 feet in height.

Dwarf White Crape Myrtle

Dwarf white crape myrtles. Dwarf are different from miniatures. They are smaller versions of the large crape. Here you see a genuine trunk and limb structure. Pictured with lantana which will hide the trunks.

Mniature crape myrtle: Centennial (not to be confused with Centennial Spirit). Miniatures are more shrub like while dwarf are small replicas of larger crapes.

Mniature crape myrtle: Centennial (not to be confused with Centennial Spirit). Miniatures are more shrub like while dwarf are small replicas of larger crapes.

Upward Branching and Vaselike

In the background below you see Pink Velour.  Clearly it has two beautiful cousins, though I am currently unsure of their names.  I believe that is a Zuni that has been trimmed and pruned.
Pink Velour has large bloom pannicles, close to ten inches and eight inches wide, and virtually no seeds.  This is a scrumptious crape myrtle – though I am biased and favor the open arching crapes.

Crape Myrtles in Texas

Pink Velour – Open Vase Shape 12 Feet Tall.  A group of velour crape myrtles in mixed colors.

Potomac_Pink_15_Foot_Crape_Myrtle_Lee_Ann_Torrans_Dallas_Gardening

Splash of Pink Open Arching Pink Crape, 15 feet tall.

Miniatures and Dwarfs (not the same)

Velma, Royalt and Petite Orchid - Miniature Purple Crape Myrtles

Velma Royalty Purple Miniature Crape Myrtles

Growth Habit

Upward branching, single or multiple trunks, weeping or vase like.

Weeping

 Near East Pale Pink Crape Myrtle.  Read more here.  This is the least cold hardy of the crapes.

Pale_Pink_Dwarf_Weeping_Crape_Myrtle_Lee_Ann_Torrans_Dallas_Gardening

Near East Pale Pink Weeping Crape

Crape Shapes Vary Widely

Crape shapes are wildly different ranging from the broad Tuskeegee to the upright shape of the popular Tuscarora.
Tuskeegee Broad Deep Pink Crape Myrtle
Tuskeegee Broad Deep Pink Crape Myrtle
 

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle

Tuscarora is an upright crape myrtle that reaches 25 to 30 feet in Texas. Crapes will grow taller in Texas than on the east coast in states such as North or South Carolina.

Canopy

Natchez White Crape Myrtle

Pendulous Natchez White Crape Myrtle with red Tuskegee in the background.

Color – White, lavender, pink and now brilliant red!

Red Rocket Dwarf Red Crape Myrtle

Blooming Period

For the most popular Crape Myrtles last from 80 to 110 days.

Fall Color and bark texture.

These are typically not the primary reason for selection but do impact the pleasure your crepe myrtle brings year round.

Crape Myrtle Bark

Amazing Textured Bark.

Miniature Crape Myrtles

Royalty

Miniature_Purple_Crape_Myrtle_Texas_Lee_Ann_Torrans_Dallas_Gardening-5

Purple Velvet reaches four feet and is a dwarf purple crape.

Velma, Royalty and Purple Velvet as shown above are the most prolific bloomers in the dwarf purple category.  In fact, in my observation, purple dominates the dwarf category for strong bloomers.
Miniature White

Dwarf+White_Crape_Myrtle_Lee_Ann_Torrans_Dallas_Gardening

White Snow Dwarf White Crape Myrtle with Mounding Pink Dwarf Crape Myrtle.

You can see the wide variety of dwarfs in this image.  Some dwarfs begin a nice bush effect from the ground up while others are actually miniature trees.  When you purchase a crape they all look the same but their growth habits become apparent with age.
Dwarf Centennial
This is a prolific bloomer and more of a lavender color than Velma or Purple Velvet.  Its panicles are long and its bloom period longer than most.  I love this crape!
Purple Miniature Crape Myrtle
Raspberry Dazzle reaches only three feet and is considered to be a miniature crape myrtle from the Razzle Dazzle series. Raspberry Dazzle is compact habit and mildew resistant. This new crape myrtle has the same landscape attributes as traditional crape.  There are several miniature white crapes including Diamond Dazzle and Pixie White.
 
Diamond Dazzle has white flowers and purple leaves.  I am not a fan of this particular Crape Myrtle.  Sounds great on paper … but just sort of stunted looking, the flowers never look fresh with the dark pink centers bordering on brown/burgundy.  SO many better crapes out there.
Diamond Dazzle Crape Myrtle

Acoma, Sioux and Tonto are popular for the intermediate and/or semi-dwarf varieties.

Acoma reaches a height of 10-14 feet. It is similar in size to Tonto. It has a weeping or cascading growth habit. White flowers appear in mid- to late June and last around 90 days. Its powdery mildew resistance is good. In some years, leaf spot can be found but defoliation is not a problem. Its light-gray bark exfoliates as the plant nears maturity.
Acoma Crape Myrtle Texas
Sioux has good powdery mildew resistance with some susceptibility to leaf spot. Its flowers are vivid pink and last from June through September. Mature height ranges from around ten feet but can vary widely.
Sioux Crape Myrtle
Tonto is a semi-dwarf to medium crape myrtle, reaching heights of 12-14 feet. It has excellent resistance to leaf spot and powdery mildew and it retains its foliage into the fall. It displays deep-red flowers and has good exfoliating bark.  This is one my favorite crape myrtles for the large panicles, color and vaselike shape.
Tonto Crape Myrtle
 Purple, Pink and White Miniatures.  Is this size right for your garden?
 Purple Velvet is the deepest colored miniature I have seen:
 Dwarf Centennial is a less intense purple crape myrtle.  Its blossoms are slightly larger, (poofier) and the color less intense.  The image below is a little pale.
Dwarf Pink Crape Myrtle:
 Dwarf White Crape Myrtle

http://www.aaes.auburn.edu/comm/pubs/bulletins/crapemyrtle644/index.php