Crape Myrtle Plant Information: Uses and How to Grow
This post, titled Crape Myrtle Plant Information: Uses and How to Grow, provides you with information on this beautiful ornamental and medicinal plant. The Crape Myrtle (Lythraceae), also known as Crepe Myrtle, have strong, well defined, fluted stems and branches with a spotty or smeared appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite and simple, with entire margins, and vary from 2–8 in. They are small to medium multiple-trunked deciduous trees and shrubs that like full sun.
The Crape Myrtle is hardy in Zones 7–10 with some hybrids hardy down to zone 6. They have a height of 15–25′ and a spread of 6–15′ at maturity and grow in a vase shape. They have foliage that is dark green, changing to shades of yellow, orange and red in the fall. This shrub attracts bees and provides bird habitat. The best part is crepe myrtles are not usually browsed by deer.
Flower and Seeds
Crape Myrtle have crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture with colors that vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between. During the growing season, clip off spent flowers to promote a second, lighter bloom. When the flowers go to seed they release numerous, small, winged seeds.
Crepe Myrtle bloom on new wood and should be pruned in winter or early spring. On large shrubs and trees, remove basal suckers, twiggy growth, crossing branches, and branches growing toward the center of the plant. Also gradually remove side branches up to a height of 4–5 ft. exposing the pretty bark of the trunks.
Crepe Myrtles propagate via seed, hardwood and softwood cuttings.
“The stem bark is febrifuge, stimulant and styptic. The bark, flowers and leaves are considered to be hydrogogue and a drastic purgative. A paste of the flowers is applied externally to cuts and wounds. The root is astringent, detoxicant and diuretic. A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of colds.” *
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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