Crepe myrtle is a long-lived, low maintenance tree having a very long blooming period followed by striking autumn foliage. With an extensive variety of crops in a range of sizes, shapes and colors, crepe myrtle, suitable for growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9, provides almost endless possibilities for beautifying the house garden. Plant crepe myrtle in a sunny, well-drained place between late autumn and early spring.
Plant crepe myrtle as a single tree to make a vibrant focal point in the landscape. Pick a variety that will not negate its borders, as surplus pruning often destroys the graceful look of crepe myrtle. Think of distance from couches, power lines and buildings. If you have space, plant a stunning crepe myrtle such as “Arapaho,” which reaches heights of 20 feet and widths of 10 feet, or “Natchez,” an impressive, white-flowering specimen which grows as tall as 25 feet. For smaller areas, think about planting “Miami,” with dark pink blossoms or “Near East,” with light pink blooms. Both max out at approximately 16 to 20 feet. Underplant the tree having an attractive ground cover, colorful perennials, or spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils.
Frame a front door or entrance with a pair of matching crepe myrtles. For this use, moderate-sized varieties are often greatest. “Acoma,” a beautiful tree with a pleasant curved shape, reaches a height of 10 feet, with a spread of approximately 11 feet. “Acoma displays white flowers and foliage that turns crimson red in autumn. “Catawba” is a slightly smaller tree at 6 to10 feet, with dark purple blooms and reddish-orange autumn color. With a mature height of 10 feet, “Pink Velour” is a vase-shaped tree with neon pink blooms and foliage that turns yellow-orange in autumn.
Place a dwarf crepe myrtle in a huge container to beautify a terrace, deck or patio. Fill the container with a potting soil comprising equal parts of sand, peat moss and perlite. To prevent root or stem rot, make sure you use a pot with a drainage hole. A range of dwarf varieties are ideal for container growing, most particularly the meager series, which includes several plants which reach heights of approximately 5 ft, all with yellow autumn foliage”. The Petite series includes “Petite Plum,” “Petite orchid,” “Petite Embers” and “Petite Red Imp. “Pokomoke,” which also maxes out at approximately 5 ft, displays rosy red blossoms and reddish-bronze autumn foliage.
Combine dwarf crepe myrtle in perennial beds or mass plantings along with other vibrant, old-fashioned shrubs such as Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) or butterfly bush (Buddleja). Incorporate lower-growing perennials such as daylily (Hemerocallis) or iris. Other suitable companion plants comprise coreopsis, common geranium (Pelargonium), lily-of-the-NiIe (Agapanthus) or black-eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia). Ornamental grasses offer texture and year round interest.