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If you live in the San Francisco Bay area and see a beautiful flowering tree that is white, pink, red or purple, it most likely is a Crape Myrtle tree. Crape Myrtles flower in July and August, reminding me that summer is quickly coming to an end. The botanical name for Crape Myrtle is Lagerstroemia with a variety of cultivars depending on size, flower color, fall color or other features. The Indian named cultivars such as ‘Muskogee’, ‘Tonto’, and Tuscarora’ are more cold hardy and mildew resistant. One of my favorites is ‘Dynamite’ which grows to about 20’ tall, has the deepest red flowers of them all and a beautiful fall color. For smaller spaces, there is the Petite series with trees growing to between 5’ to 12’ tall. Crape Myrtles prefer hot, sunny locations. They like infrequent deep watering and are considered drought tolerant by most standards. The flowers bloom on new wood, so best time to prune is winter or early spring before they start the growing season. As a small to medium sized tree, they are perfect for a patio tree, front entry or median strip. If you want a Crape Myrtle tree, now is the perfect time to select one in the nursery to see which flower color sparks your interest.

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