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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Crape Myrtle

crepe myrtle tree in bloom
Crape myrtle tree in bloom. Photo from Clemson Extension - see text for link.

Sometimes I wish I had a crape myrtle tree. Like every serious gardener, I’m always wishing for more than what I have in my yard. I wrote a post about wanting trees and I called it “I Dream of An Arboretum” – you can read it here. I also wrote about plants I’d like to have but never will – read about “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” here and “Nice in Someone Else’s Yard here.

But in the case of crape myrtle, I almost have one, because my son and daughter-in-law have one and I can cut blooms and foliage from it to use in my floral designs. I discovered that crape myrtle foliage is long-lasting in bouquets, and usually has a graceful downward curve that’s so valuable for covering the edge of the vase. Unfortunately, the flowers, though beautiful, begin to drop after two or three days. They might be wonderful in a bridal bouquet, or in flowers for a dinner party, where flowers would only need to be at their peak for one day.

bouquet with zinnias
End of summer bouquet with zinnias and crape myrtle foliage.

Crape myrtle trees bloom in late summer, and they come in white or shades of purple, pink and red. Click here for a list of cultivars, complied by Clemson Cooperative Extension. All around my neighborhood there are crape myrtle trees in every color, so as I go on my daily walk, I can see their progression from spring buds to August blooms and fall foliage colors. If you live in a temperate climate, and especially if you live in the southern US, you should be able to grow these beauties, or at least enjoy them in someone else’s yard.

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