Crape Myrtles: Are They Truly Evergreen?

Most crape myrtles are deciduous, especially the popular types such as the common crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica). A few wild species are evergreen, but most of the genus is deciduous. Deciduous shrubs lose their leaves during the winter before growing them back the next season. Join me as I explore the life cycle of crape myrtles and which species are considered evergreen.

Are Crape Myrtles Evergreen?

The Life Cycle of Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtles are native to parts of Asia, Australia, and the Indian Subcontinent. They are also naturalized across the United States, particularly in the South in USDA Zones 6 to 9.

Crape myrtles grow as deciduous shrubs or small trees. They grow between 20 and 30 feet tall and about 10 to 15 feet wide. Crape myrtles are fast-growing plants that increase in size by approximately 2 to 3 feet each year in ideal conditions.

Crape myrtles lose all their leaves and go dormant over the winter. In spring, the plant becomes active again and regrows its leaves.

When Are Crape Myrtles In Season?

Pink crape myrtle plants in bloom

Crape myrtles flower from summer until fall, producing masses of elegant, crepe-like flowers. These blooms come in shades of purple, pink, red, and white. During the fall, crape myrtle leaves change color, producing attractive shades of yellow and red.

Once the flowers finish and the leaves have dropped, the main feature of a crape myrtle becomes its attractive bark. Mature crape myrtle plants display beautiful peeling bark during the winter. The peeling bark creates shades of cream, white, gray, brown, and red.

How Long Do Crape Myrtles Last?

Most crape myrtles plants live for about 25 to 50 years, although some specimens live for almost a century. Deciduous trees typically live for several decades, while evergreen plants can live for hundreds of years. Crape myrtles may also have a shorter lifespan due to their fast growth rate.

Crape myrtles can take several years to reach maturity. Most crape myrtles take 5 to 10 years to grow to their full height. Crape myrtles also take a few years to become well-established. Established crape myrtles require less maintenance than newly planted specimens.

Evergreen Crape Myrtles FAQs:

Do Crape Myrtles Lose Their Leaves During the Winter?

Most crape myrtles are deciduous shrubs, which means they lose all their leaves during the winter. Deciduous plants shed leaves to conserve energy and protect themselves against strong winds.

What Do Crape Myrtles Look Like in Winter?

During the winter, crape myrtles lose all their leaves. However, this allows the beautiful peeling bark to steal the show. Crape myrtle bark displays attractive shades of red, brown, cream, and white.

Wrapping Up

Most crape myrtles are deciduous shrubs or trees that lose their leaves during the winter. Crape myrtles provide beauty throughout the year thanks to their leaves, flowers, and peeling bark during the winter.

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