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A Plant For All Seasons

The ‘Muskogee' hybrid crape myrtle is an exceptionally rapid grower. 
Note the characteristic architecture of these multi-trunk standards.

The ‘Muskogee' hybrid crape myrtle is an exceptionally rapid grower. Note the characteristic architecture of these multi-trunk standards.

While some may proclaim the crape myrtle as a plant for all seasons, others would strongly disagree. These naysayers focus on the fact that the tree is deciduous, which, for snowbirds, presents a problem as the blooms appear during their northern hiatus. However, for everyone else, the crape myrtle has attributes that make it desirable all year.

Native to southeast Asia and the islands of the Pacific, crape myrtles were introduced to the United States in the 18th century. Although they have been known to grow as far north as Massachusetts, they are seen mostly in the southern half of the U.S., and thrive in all parts of Florida.

The scientific name for the plant is Lagerstroemia indica, but the common name, as is so often the case, has discrepancies. Throughout the literature the spelling is seen as “crape” as often as “crepe.” Some references even point out that “crepe” is incorrect, yet the plant is supposedly named because the flowers resemble the light crinkled fabric called crepe. So, what to do?

Read the entire article in the Summer 2005 issue