Green Thumb | A beauty for any season

ALL-ROUNDER: A crepe myrtle displays its gorgeous flowers. But the show continues through autumn and winter. These stunning plants are available in many different sizes and colours.
ALL-ROUNDER: A crepe myrtle displays its gorgeous flowers. But the show continues through autumn and winter. These stunning plants are available in many different sizes and colours.

You can’t help but love the crepe myrtle. They flower for months and then the leaves colour up for autumn extending the display.

When this deciduous shrub/tree has lost all of its leaves, you get a full view of the most amazing branches and trunks which are a feature in their own right.

There are so many varieties available, we’re spoilt for choice.

The latest to hit the market are the Lagerstroemia Diamonds in the Dark range. With foliage that is almost black, the plants are relatively compact, only growing to about three metres.

This habit of growth makes them perfect for small gardens.

One of my favourite groups of crepe myrtles are from the Indian Summer range. These plants flower from late summer and have been bred to be powdery mildew-resistant.

Their long flowering season and tolerance of heat and drought have made them popular in gardens.

This group of crepe myrtles are a cross between Lagerstroemia indica and Lagerstroemia fauriei. They are available in a range of flower colours with interesting names such as Yuma, Tuscarora, Sioux and Tonto to name a few.

Their long flowering season and tolerance of heat and drought have made them popular.

All crepe myrtle plants produce fascinating trunks. They have a light bark that peels away each year producing colours and patterns on older wood that can be very attractive.

Crepe myrtles can be pruned once flowering has finished.

It was once the norm to heavily prune these plants and keep them to about two metres tall, but this doesn’t happen much now and gardeners allow their plants to grow to their full height.

Lagerstroemia originated in China and was named for Magnus Von Largerstroem, a Swedish merchant.

The crepe myrtle is easy to grow. It’s adaptable to most soils and a range of conditions but really does well in a slightly acidic soil.

This plant needs regular watering while it becomes established, but becomes quite tolerant to dryness and heat when it’s a few years old.

If you’ve got a prominent spot in your garden that needs a small tree, I strongly suggest you pop along to a local nursery and look at the range of crepe myrtles available, they really are something special.