The right choice for those who notice details in landscape and take pleasure in them.
„Lagerstroemia indica“, commonly known as crape myrtle, is one of the most decorative garden plants. It is a deciduous shrub or small tree in the loosestrife family, that originates from China, Japan and Australia. It can reach 8 metres in height, but only 3 to 4 metres in our climate conditions.
Its trunk is very decorative and colourful. It has a smooth, mostly beige bark, with smudges of green and red, streaked with dark brown, which makes the trunk seem almost barkless.
Young twigs are extremely rectangular, with an opposite leaf arrangement. The leaves are simple, oval, smooth, leathery and bright green, with reddish shoots. In late autumn, before falling off, they turn orange. Purple, white, or dark rose, almost red flowers, smother the branches from midsummer to late autumn. Panicles of crinkled flowers can reach up to 25 centimetres. The fruit is a capsule, green and succulent at first, then ripening to dark brown husks, which stay on the tree until spring.
Crape myrtle can be grown as a terrace shrub or a tree with a round shaped crown. Its ideal habitat is warm and sunny, sheltered from autumn wind which can damage the flowers. If you wish to keep the shrub-like form, and increase flowering, you need to prune last year’s offsprings, which is done every spring. The pride of India will grow in most fertile garden soils, as long as the soil drains well. It can be planted all year round if it is in a container.
This plant is the right choice for those who notice details in landscape and take pleasure in them. Make a change in your garden or a terrace and enjoy the colours of the flowers and bark of “The pride of India”.
Crape myrtle thrives in the warm and sunny regions, fertile and well-drained garden soils, low in nitrogen and acidity. The best growth is expected if the shrub is sheltered from cold wind. Be sure to add slow-release fertilizer every spring. It is most fragile during its first year, so it needs regular watering and fertilizing, and protection from low temperatures.
It should be pruned every spring. If you wish to keep the shrub-like form, and increase flowering, you need to prune last year’s offsprings as well as dead and excessive branches.