Crape Myrtles thrive and bloom well in heat and with the unusually hot weather we have been having in the Pacific Northwest, we are being treated to early blooms. Usually blooming in mid-August, Crape Myrtles will start to emerge from their dormancy and begin showing their first summer blooms, giving us all more time to admire their beauty and wide range of colors. With its blooms and attractive bark, this flowering tree will please the eye year-round.

Why Crape Myrtles?

Jack, Al’s son and second generation owner says because they are “drop dead gorgeous!” They bloom at the time of year where there are not any trees or shrubs blooming. With their diversity in size they can vary from 20 feet tall to 5 feet tall. It is really easy to control their height by pruning and shaping. There is not only a tree form but also a shrub form too!

All the Colors!

You can have many different colors from white, lavender, purple, red, to shades of pink. There are many subtle differences between the shades of blooms and different foliage!

Check out all the Crape Myrtles we have to offer Online here!

The History Behind Crape Myrtles

Jack brought them into Oregon 35 years ago and says that they have “been around since dirt was young.” They are indinginous to the south because of the hot and moist climate. When he originally brought them over they often got powdery mildew. Over the years a professor at Oklahoma State developed varieties not prone to powdery mildew and can weather harder winters we experience in Oregon.

Here at Al’s we only carry varieties that we have tested and tried in our own yards. Jack likes to say that we like to “take them and walk before we can really run.” In Jack’s experience over the years they have really done great. There was only one year where they did not reach full bloom because the summer was too cool. The hot weather we have been having has pushed up the bloom time, normally they bloom mid to late August but they are budding now in the middle of July!

New varieties are still developing and it is fun to see what new, exciting colors are popping out! They are also developing darker foliage that looks amazing against the vibrant colors of the blooms. Keep an eye out for exciting things to come!

Tips and Information

Crape Myrtles should be put in the brightest and warmest locations in your yard; they will grow poorly and maybe not even flower if they don't receive at least 6 hours of sun.

Crape Myrtles are considered drought tolerant and can tolerate dry conditions once established, but they should never become drought stressed. Make sure they have consistent moisture and heat so they can maintain growth from bud to bloom. You will know if your Crape Myrtle is water-stressed when its leaves are dull in appearance; they should be bright and glossy when healthy.

Crape Myrtles are thought to be fairly tender when it comes to the cold, but once established, most are wood hardy to 0ºF. Once the bark on the Crape Myrtle begins to exfoliate, about three to five years after planting, the tree’s cold hardiness level is higher. The hardiest Crape Myrtle is a result of high summer heat, full sun, moderate fertility soil and well drained soil with an occasional deep irrigation.

Lastly, don't forget about pruning. Your Crape Myrtle should be pruned in early Spring and you should do as little pruning as possible. Excessive pruning can stunt growth, or can result in weak branches that can support blooms. Remove wood from the interior to promote good air flow and shape the exterior branches to enhance the character of the plant. You can highlight the bark of the trunks by removing the lower limbs once the Crape Myrtle is more mature.

Crape Myrtles come in all shapes, sizes and colors and we are so happy to say we have a wide range that we know will withstand the weather of the Pacific Northwest and will add pops of color and interest in your yard or garden.

More Resources!

The Bold & Beautiful Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle: Kings of Color

Patio Plants: Container Gardening with Trees and Perennials

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