'Catawba' Crape myrtles are simply amazing trees. They are a very fast growing tree that fills with gorgeous clusters of bright purple blooms from July to September, and both beautiful, hearty, and very drought resistant once established.
The blooms of a crape myrtle are a magnificent display that attract flocks of hummingbirds and butterflies through the summer months. These purple crape myrtles produce 6” to 12” clusters of purple flowers that can last for many weeks or even months. The leaves of crape myrtles are a unique glossy red/green and the growth rate of a crape myrtle is incredible, these trees can create shoots of new growth of more than a foot in just a few short weeks.
As they grow, crape myrtles can be trained into a clump of trees or keep a shrub like form. This characteristic makes them perfect for a number situations, such as the center piece of a garden or yard, a backdrop in front of a fence, lining a drive, or planting on the corner of a house.
The one downside of these trees is that they have a weakness to prolonged cold, and this should be taken into account when purchasing and planting them. For example, here in southern Indiana (zone 6a) they grow beautifully, but do best in an area sheltered from cold winter winds. In Louisville, KY, which consistently remains 5-6 degrees warmer, due to the heat island effect, they overwinter without a problem.
|Bloom Period:||mid to late summer|
|Fall Color:||Orange and red with hints of yellow|
|Foliage Color:||Green with red/orange highlights|
|Genus & Species:||Lagerstroemia indica 'Catawba'|
|Mature Height:||12 to 15 ft.|
|Mature Spread:||10 to 15 ft.|
|Soil Type:||Well drained soil; crape myrtles are drought tolerant|
|Sun Exposure:||Full sun|
|Zone:||6a to 10|
General care for any tree or shrub is easy, but like any living thing will require your attention. Please educate yourself and follow these simple rules.
Caring for your Ornamental - Crape Myrtle
Once established, crape myrtles become quite drought tolerant. They can do just as well in dry sandy soil as they do in moist well-draining soil and are fast growing often putting on two feet or more of new growth in a single season. When caring for crape myrtles it is important to understand that they often remain dormant well into the spring (or early summer), especially in cooler climates after being transplanted. Once the root system establishes, the crape myrtle will reliably emerge sooner, but still leafs out late in the spring compared to other trees. Cold weather is detrimental to crape myrtle trees, so when planting in zone 6 it is recommend to plant out of the winter wind if possible. Heavy mulching of 3-4 inches will protect the roots of a crape myrtle in the winter. If a winter is particularly harsh, the crape myrtle may lose branches or parts of its trunk, but if the root system is protected, it will sprout new branches and keep a more shrub-like form.