Colorful Crape Myrtles
If you read my writings more than one or two times you’re going to find that I’m in love with crape myrtles. No small trees (actually, genetically, all shrubs) are any prettier through the hot days of mid-summer.
What we don’t talk about as often is the fact that crape myrtles often provide wonderful sources of fall color as well. Reds and oranges predominate, but yellows are common, and you’ll even see burgundy-red hues popping in once in a while.
Whether 2016 will be such a year remains to be seen. We’ve been awfully warm so far this fall for that change in leaf pigments to begin. Hopefully that’s about to start shifting so that crape myrtles and other sources of fall color can begin to hit their full stride.
Did you know that you can usually distinguish white crape myrtles from those whose flowers are red, pink or purple by looking closely at just the leaves and new twigs. The white varieties will have solid green leaves and stems. The plants with colorful flowers will have reddish pigments in their leaf tissues.
That carries on into fall. Reds, pinks and purples will show the red and orange shades of fall color. White varieties typically turn yellow before their leaves drop.
All of that said, you still want to choose your new crape myrtle selections based on (1) mature plant size and (2) flower color. Fall color won’t happen every year. Look at it as your value-added prize.