Plants

Crape myrtle

Lagerstroemia indica

Lagerstroemia is an exotic plant with a high decorative value. It even grows in gardens in mild regions.

Growth type
  • Tree
  • shrub
Growth height (from)
from 300 cm to 700 cm
Growth characteristics
  • upright
  • multi-trunked
Flower color
  • red
  • pink
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • July to October
Flower shape
  • panicles
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • elliptiques
  • oblong
  • obovate
Sheet properties
  • Autumn coloring
Fruit shape
  • Capsule
Light
  • sunny
Soil type
  • loamy
Soil Moisture
  • moderately humid to humid
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
Humus
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
Toxicity
  • non-toxic
Climate zones according to USDA
  • 7
  • 8
areas of life
  • G3
  • GR3
Use
  • Single position
  • Planters
  • Winter garden
Garden style
  • Pot garden

Origin

Contrary to what the botanical name suggests, Lagerstroemia (Lagerstroemia indica) does not originate from India, but from China and Korea. They were named after the Swede Carl Magnus von Lagerström (1691–1759), director of the Swedish East India Company and acquaintance of Carl von Linné, who brought the plant to the botanist from a trip to China. From a botanical point of view, the decorative plant is a member of the Lythraceae family.

Lagerstroemia indica is the only winter-hardy species of its genus in central Europe. Albeit within limits: As it is still a bit too frost-sensitive for our latitudes, it can only be planted in the garden in mild surroundings and vineyard regions. Crape myrtle is usually found in our climes in containers on the balcony or patio. However, the decorative plant is a popular and common avenue tree in southern Europe.

Growth

The deciduous Lagerstroemia is a 118.11 to 275.59 inch tall bush or tree with multiple shoots. Crape myrtle reaches average heights between 118.11 and 196.85 inches as a container plant. Its trunk is covered in a smooth, reddish-brown bark. The later bark falls away in sheets. The branches are square.

Leaves

The leaves are densely packed on the branches and grow 1.18 to 2.76 inches long. They are elliptical to reverse ovate or oblong, sometimes rounded, sometimes pointed at the tip. The upper side of the leaf is dark green and the under side hairy along the central vein. Lagerstroemia foliage takes on a magnificent, yellow to orange-red color in the fall.

Lagerstroemia fall foliage

Lagerstroemia fall foliage takes on wonderful colors

Flowers

Crape myrtle looks a little similar to lilac (Syringa) during its flowering period from the end of July to September and October: Its flowers also grow on long, terminal panicles. The flower colors range from delicate pink to powerful red. However, there are also varieties available today with white or purple flowers. One thing they all have in common is that they turn paler during the flowering period. The petals have a ruffled margin.

Fruit

Four to six sided fruit follicles containing the crape myrtle seeds form in the fall.

Location

As Lagerstroemia only flowers with long-lasting warmth, it requires a location in full sunlight. At the same time, it should be well ventilated so that the plant can quickly dry off again after a rainfall.

Container gardening with Lagerstroemia

Chose a place on your patio in full sunlight for Lagerstroemia

Substrate

It is preferable to plant crape myrtle in high-quality pot plant soil with a high nutrient and humus content. Adding expanding clay, sand, or gravel prevents the substrate from becoming compressed. However, permeability is not only very important in pot cultivation: If you plant your Lagerstroemia in the garden, the soil must also be loose and have good drainage.

Watering

Crape myrtle requires evenly damp soil. If the soil is too dry, it quickly drops its flower buds.

Fertilizing

Crape myrtle should be given a high-quality container plant fertilizer every 7 to 14 days from March to September. A long-term fertilizer with rods is also an option.

Repotting

A little laborious, but not to be avoided: Lagerstroemia a due for repotting about once a year preferably in early spring at the start of the new gardening season. A two to three year rhythm is sufficient for older plants.

Pruning

Similarly to butterfly bushes, the flowers are always formed on the new shoots, so Lagerstroemia should be pruned back after it drops its leaves. The stronger the new shoots are, the richer the plant will flower.

Overwintering or Winter Protection

Crape myrtle in a pot must be brought into the house from the patio or balcony in good time and overwintered in an unheated conservatory at a cool 41 degrees Fahrenheit. As it drops its leaves, it does not require much light in the winter. A semi-shady to shady location is ideal. Continue to keep the substrate slightly damp. Lagerstroemia planted outside must be given winter protection, even in mild climates - there is no need to water it outside.

White flowering Lagerstroemia

Some Lagerstroemia varieties have white flowers

Varieties

You should select your crape myrtle according to the type of cultivation - outdoor or in a pot - due to their different growth heights. Otherwise, you can use your personal color preference to decide. Tried and tested varieties include Lagerstroemia indica ‘Rubra’ (intensive, vibrant pink-red flowers), Lagerstroemia indica ’Alba’ (pink buds that open as white flowers) or Lagerstroemia indica ‘Superviolacea’ (purple flowers, red fall foliage).

Propagation

Lagerstroemia can be propagated in the spring or summer through cuttings that are planted in a pot with a mixture of sand and potting soil. High humidity promotes root formation. It is also possible to sow seeds; the seeds must be used fresh in the fall as they quickly lose their ability to germinate.

Diseases and Pests

Unfortunately, Lagerstroemia has to frequently combat the fungal disease mildew. In particular if its location is too cold. Spider mites may appear in the plant’s winter residence.

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