Lagerstroemia indica – Crape Myrtle
Frothy pannicles of pink flowers cover the new growth for many weeks in summer.
This is a vigorous small tree, growing to 6M. It is widely planted in a municipal setting in the USA, where it is usually grown as a large, multi-stemmed shrub. Indeed, Crepe Myrtle has been so widely planted from Louisiana up to Virginia that it has come to symbolise the American South.
In Karin’s Garden L. indica may be heavily cut back each year, generating 1½M new growth before flowers, as was the case with the plant pictured here.
L. indica comes from India, China, Korea, and Japan. In India, as a child, my mother knew this tree as “Ladies Frilly Panties”. Looking at the flowers it is not hard to see why!
The English name is somewhat mis-leading as this plant is not in the Myrtle family. Though it is in the order Myrtales, it is actually in the Pomegranite family (Lythraceae).
Soil / Aspect:
L. indica is tolerant of a range of soil types and situations. It thrives in the hot summers of Karin’s Garden, where the occasional summer rains give it all the water that it needs.
This plant does not seem to suffer any particular pest of fungal problems in Karin’s garden. If you do go in for the annual pruning, do not be timid. In the USA it is called “Crape Murder” because of the amount of material removed.