Crape Myrtles’ Color Continues

There’s just no predicting how fall color will turn out. Friends booked a trip to New England at what everyone said would be the prime time. But it was delayed by three weeks, and other friends who were there on family business said it wasn’t as great as it usually is. So go figure.

Photo: These pink crape myrtles bloomed for months this summer. Fall color is the icing on their cake for 2017.

East Texas has nice fall color around mid-November, and maybe this year will be good. But in much of the state the crape myrtles have already been showy, perhaps moved forward by the dry conditions of September and October. Reds and oranges predominate, but yellows are common, and you’ll even see burgundy-red hues popping in once in a while.

Photo: Crape myrtle leaves give evidence of the intensity of their fall colors.

An odd little factoid…
Did you know that you can usually distinguish white crape myrtles from those whose flowers are red, pink, lavender 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.

Continued Below


That carries on into fall. Reds, pinks, lavenders 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 varieties based on (1) mature plant size and (2) flower color. Fall color isn’t guaranteed every year, and it only lasts for a couple of weeks. Look at it as your value-added prize.

Photo: Decades-old crape myrtles colored up the fall landscape at McKinney’s historic Chestnut Square several years ago.

Note: Crape myrtles’ color faded rather quickly this year with the hot, dry weather of late October and early November, but it’s still a factor worth considering in planning your plantings.

Posted by Neil Sperry
Back To Top